Posted on 28. Nov, 2011 by Brandon Evans
What happens when the district you plan to run for gets the kibosh?
That’s what happened for Parker County resident Roger Williams. The Former Texas Secretary of State had made a splash on the national scene with his Donkey Whisperer political ad.
It was part of his grass roots campaign for the newly created Congressional District 33. The 2010 census allowed Texas to add four new U.S. Congressional members. It was up to the state legislature to map those out. However, a federal court ruled last week that the map intentionally split up minorities, thus disenfranchising a growing Hispanic population. So, the 33rd that Williams ran for, which included sections of Tarrant County, all of Parker County and a sliver of Wise County that picked up a heavily white and Republican block of voters, was killed by the court. They replaced it with one that is entirely in Tarrant County and composed mainly of minority communities in Arlington and Fort Worth.
So who was right? Was it the Republican-led legislature that used this opportunity to load the U.S. Congress with four Republican shoe-ins by making Republican-strong districts? Or was it the court that created minority-strong districts?
The answer is neither. Both appear to be gerrymandering at their worst.
There needs to be a consistent formula to use when drafting new districts. There is an organization called the Center For Range Voting, founded by a mathematician, that has created an algorithm to mathematically draw up district lines. This algorithm is consistent and gives no preference to black, white, Hispanic, Asian, liberal, conservative, old, young, etc.
There are also images of what districts in Texas might look like using the algorithm. Letting the people in power just draw maps that put more like-minded people in power isn’t Democracy, but neither it allowing a panel of three federal judges to do it.