State of Elections

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Tag: one person one vote

Wisconsin’s 1st District: How the Race to Replace Paul Ryan Was Won Long Before 2018

By: Colin Neal

Wisconsin’s 1st District has been in political prominence since its young Congressman, Rep. Paul Ryan, was tapped as Gov. Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 Presidential election. In 2015, riding the popularity of his Vice Presidential campaign, Rep. Paul Ryan became the youngest Speaker of the House of Representatives in over a century when he replaced Speaker Boehner. More recently, the race to replace outgoing Speaker Ryan in the Wisconsin’s 1st—a district Ryan has represented since 1999—has come under the national spotlight due to excitement about Democrat Randy Bryce, an ironworker and community activist with a bombastic, yet compassionate, attitude. However, Bryce’s race to replace Rep. Ryan may not be so simple. In the midst of a “blue wave” responding to the unpopularity of President Trump, Wisconsin’s 1st is seen as a potential pick-up district for Democrats. However, Wisconsin’s 1st is a product of a statewide gerrymander plan that may very well raise the Republican shoreline above the incoming blue wave, despite Randy Bryce’s efforts. This is due to a failure of the Wisconsin Constitution and Wisconsin statutes to codify requirements for Congressional districting beyond mere administrative advice, namely requiring compactness and respect for existing political borders. Although the Wisconsin Constitution requires such for the redistricting of the state legislature (the compliance with such constitutional mandate notwithstanding), its failure to include such requirement for federal elections has led to a near-insurmountable gerrymander in Wisconsin’s 1st, which may otherwise be quite competitive.

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Shifting Racial Make-Up of D.C

By: Randolph Critzer

Few places in the United States can offer a snapshot of American politics quite like Washington D.C. There are over 650,000 people living in the District, which serves not only as the focal point of our federal system, but also as the local and pseudo-state level government for its many residents.

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In the Silver State, Sometimes the Silver Medalist Walks Away the Winner

The 2008 Democratic primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was a long and unpredictable run of events.  Never was this truer than in the Nevada Caucuses, where exactly the opposite of the state ethos occurred: it was not winner take all.  Shortly after the major news networks declared that Hillary Clinton had won a majority of the precinct caucus delegates (by a 7% margin) they surprisingly declared that Barack Obama had won the majority of the state’s delegates to the national convention.

This odd outcome was the result of a delegate allocation which sought to ensure that northern and rural Nevada, not just Las Vegas, had a voice in the decision making process. Continue reading

What Do You Mean, “One Person?”

For nearly half a century, American courts have looked to the “one person, one vote” standard as the guiding principle in reapportionment and redistricting cases. This doctrine, first laid forth in Reynolds v. Sims (1963), holds that “the constitutional test for the validity of districting schemes shall be one of population equality among the various districts.” Since that time the principle has become a central tenet in redistricting, and indeed as the country heads into the post-2010 round of redistricting, the courts’ understanding of one person, one vote remains largely unchanged.  That is, unless one Dallas suburb can upset it. Continue reading

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