Here’s a crazy idea: let’s take politics out of the redistricting process and allow the public to participate.

That seems to be exactly what the League of Women Voters is trying to accomplish with their Ohio Redistricting Competition. According to the rules, anyone can submit a plan for redistricting…

Plans submitted under the competition will be ranked and scored based on specific issues, including traditional redistricting principles (compactness and communities of interest) and modern redistricting principles (competitiveness and representational fairness).

So here’s my first suggestion: use the shortest splitline algorithm to generate the districts. “Because the algorithm uses only the shape of the state, the number N of districts wanted, and the population distribution as inputs ? and does not know the party loyalties of those people ? the result cannot be biased.”

Running Ohio through the algorthm with the old census data produces the following districts:


The only thing I want to know now is: what’s my prize if they choose my entry?


By the way, here’s what they currently look like:


  • Paul

    Splitlines not withstanding, I’m looking forward to geeking out on this.

    My big problem, however, is how many districts will they require? We know we’re not going to have 18 of them in 2012, but will we have 17 or 16? What will the target population be?

    I also hope they’ll do something similar for state house / senate districts.

    Geek on!

  • Paul

    I didn’t see the PDF link until after I previously commented.

    I suppose I figured that the contest would be all goo-goo trying for “fairness” and all that.

    I’m a partisan Democrat and I want to control the redistricting process to benefit my party. Taking politics out of, well, politics is a self-contradictory idea and redistricting certainly IS politics.

    But my main beef with the LWV’s scoring criteria is this:

    “National Voting Rights Act. All plans must provide for at least one majority-minority congressional district, in keeping with federal law and case law.”

    When did this become a requirement for Ohio? I’m making no comment pro or con to the idea but I’m pretty sure Ohio isn’t under this law.

    I found this wikipedia page:

    and it doesn’t mention Ohio anywhere.

  • You’re right – we really can’t start redrawing lines until the new census information is relelased.

    And I don’t know if there are any majority-minority district requirements – but I’d hope not. The intentions of such requirements are good, but the actual implementation tends to result a Democratic district surrounded by multiple Republican districts since all of the minority voters, who overwhelmingly vote for Democratic candidates, are squeezed into one area leaving the surrounding districts with Republican majorities.

  • bryan

    Under the National Voting Rights Act — given Ohio’s demographics — the state must have at least one majority-minority district. Failure to do so would jeopardize any redistricting plan.

  • Joseph, I would agree with your comments. Even it might hurt the GOP maps, lines shouldnt be drawn like that.

  • Paul

    So … whatever happened to this?

    The original story said that more information would be posted “next week” and we’re about done with “next week”.

  • S Linda2750

    the marion, marion counties, ohio distrits, need more monies for the metropolitan housing. and more monies to refurbish, rebuild, and restore housing projects, so more people can afford housing. help stablize the housing market. another issue: SSDisbility all who receive under that catagory should have been able to benefit for the one time $250 payment for medical relief. the cost of living increased, our house payments and insurances increased, but our income remained the same. would appreciate our congressman addressing this issue.

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