This team of activists, academics and attorneys kept municipalities together, showing only 27 split counties. They also met their goals for compactness, contiguity and jurisdictional splits. It was technically a very strong map.
This team of activists, academics and attorneys kept municipalities together, showing only 27 split counties. They also met their goals for compactness, contiguity and jurisdictional splits. I was technically a very strong map.
A version of this map was submitted by Concerned Citizens for Democracy as a remedial proposal for the 2018 League of Women Voters vs. Pennsylvania Congressional redistricting lawsuit. The map exemplifies one simple, intuitive method by which the 2011 redistricters could easily have complied with the Pennsylvania Constitutional requirements for compactness, contiguity, population equality, and minimal county, municipal, and ward splits, using only data and computational capabilities then available.
As comparisons of the 2011 map with the electoral data used by its drafters show, those drafters completely neglected Constitutional requirements in pursuit of partisan advantage. Our map and methodology, along with the other 13 proposals and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's structurally comparable remedial map, demonstrate how easy it is to do better.
Our design priority was to show how good-faith compliance with Constitutional requirements rejects three key abusive practices used by the 2011 gerrymanderers to precisely segment territory for partisan advantage --- targeting of specific counties and large cities for excessive fragmentation, perfect tailoring of fragment boundaries to partisan data, and Frankensteinian combination of unrelated fragments into monstrous wholes. In addition, we emphasize avoidance of county and municipal splits, as this is a prospective, objectively quantifiable, and legally established way to define and defend communities of interest.
We offer the following exemplar approach to compliance with Constitutional requirements:
1) Create roughly equal-population districts from compact assemblages of whole counties. Select the fewest possible counties to divide to balance district populations.
2) Divide any selected county smaller than a district between exactly 2 districts. Form as many complete districts as possible inside each larger county and assign the remainder to one other district.
3) Divide each selected county by aggregating adjacent, undivided municipalities onto the boundary of a neighboring district, one ""layer"" at a time.
4) Handle any necessary municipal divisions similarly.
By this means, our submission to the Court achieved exact population equality while splitting only 15 counties between 2 districts and splitting only Philadelphia amongst 3 districts (2 majority-minority). 16 additional municipalities were split between 2 districts. Average Polsby-Popper compactness was 0.3635, and 6 districts were competitive. The Court's remedial map achieved similar statistics using apparently similar methods.
This contest's tract integrity requirement necessitated slight modifications. Additionally, relaxing population equality to +/-0.5% (as is more appropriate to the true precision of census data) enabled reductions in county splits (13) and municipal splits (3), with little effect on other statistics.