One of the most important principles behind voting is the idea that each citizen or voter has equal input, a principle often referred to as “one person, one vote”. Theoretically for each vote to carry equal weight each voting district should contain the same number of voters, however with populations constantly shifting this can be difficult to achieve. In order to accomplish this equality, redistricting allows states to redraw the boundaries of their electoral districts following the census every ten years. Typically the majority party has control over redistricting and uses it to redraw districts in order to give their candidates the best chance at winning each district. This practice known as gerrymandering has been a major and controversial aspect of redistricting since its inception. Redistricting has sparked controversy in the Texas government after both the 2000 and 2010 censuses.
By the year 2000, Texas Republicans had taken control of the executive branch, house, and senate within the state government. After elections in 2002, Republicans also gained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the state of Texas sent seventeen Democrat and fifteen Republican representatives to Washington. This ratio was disproportional to the voting percentages statewide where Republican congressional candidates had received fifty six percent of the votes. So the Texas State Legislature backed by House Majority Leader and Texan Tom DeLay began to push for a redistricting of Texas congressional districts. The Texas Legislature had failed to pass any redistricting legislation during the 2001 regular legislative session. Republicans, saw an opportunity for a major political gain by redistricting Texas so in 2003 a redistricting bi...
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...t time since Reconstruction. The Democratic representatives and representatives did everything they could to resist this change but it was clear from voting records in the previous election a change in the maps needed to be made. Redistricting following the 2010 census was heavily scrutinized, and after much legal maneuvering resulted in Republicans gaining a slightly larger advantage in the state. It could be argued the original maps were discriminatory in nature because they deliberately grouped many of the minority populations together. Most would agree the interim maps better achieved their true purpose of voting equality and will likely be used going forward. Even though redistricting has been a controversial issue in the state it is a necessary part of the voting process and will continue to ensure voting districts are adapting to the changing the populations.
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An issue in Texas today is whether the public have sufficient control over the executive branch of Texas government. Texas has a plural executive, which mean the public not only elects the Lieutenant Governor, but also the Attorney General, Comptroller, Land Commissioner, and Agricultural Commissioner (Benson, Clinkscale, and Giardino 216). These elections add significantly to the “long ballet” that the public can vote for. Some argue that because there are so many to vote for, people cannot adequately vote for the positions. The research and attention needed to stay up to date on the elections can steer people away from voting. Many people vote for the governor and the lieutenant governor because of the title and how high the positions are.
A Democratic Party long ruled by moderates and conservatives succeeded in stunting what seemed like the natural growth of a successful Republican Party until the 1990s. Since then, various forces have contributed to the growth of the Republicans, and in the end, to an altering of the core membership of each party. Most recently, the state has seen the development of a dominant Republican Party that doesn't yet hold quite the dominion the Democrats enjoyed through most of the twentieth century. The Republican Party has certainly benefited from the defection of former Democrats, the arrival of Republicans and independents from out of state, and organizational difficulties in the Democratic Party. Thus, Republican officials dominate state government, and Democrats find themselves reduced, for the present, to the status of an embattled minority party seeking to recreate themselves among their voting and financial constituencies. This is showing that the newfound Republican dominance can be the beginning of a new strong party system, or if we are in a state of transition in which the terms of political competition are still in change. If it is a new party system, I don’t think it will be very durable or last too long for that matter. Now, it seems that Republican dominance of state government will
The topic of race, redistricting, and minority representation in Congress has emerged as one of the most salient issues in contemporary political thought. The creation of so‑called majority minority districts has been attacked as unfair and racially polarizing by some observers and ultimately struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The study of race in relation to American politics and institutions, and, in particular, to the institution of Congress, has produced a wealth of research and literature in recent years. This scope of budding research ranges from legislative activity and Congressional voting to the electoral process and campaigning. This study examines the effects of race in Congressional elections and campaigning, and will be primarily focused on constituent relationships with members of the House of Representatives. Through this research, a better understanding of the differences in constituent relationships and engagement between African American House members and their Caucasian colleagues will be reached. Based on the current literature and prevailing scholarly attitudes, one could likely conclude that African American Congress members, on the whole, develop closer and more personal relationships with their constituents than do white representatives.
Starting with methods, such as, pool taxes and literacy tests, cunningly denying individuals their right to vote or convey their political voice continues in America today. Saito in the article “The Political Significance of Race” describes the effects that redistricting and gerrymandering can have on a community, by using the decennial census as a “unique opportunity to examine the relation between race and politics because the 1965 Voting Rights Act requires the recognition and protection of the political rights of ethnic and racial minorities” (120). Redistricting is the redrawing of districts, block by block supposedly to ensure each district has about the same number of people, and to guarantee that each voter has an equal political say. Redistricting can determine which political party is in power in each district by deliberately ensuring the district is drawn to include the people who support a specific party. This is called gerrymandering, the manipulation of district lines to protect or change political power. This can be used as a strategy to dilute the political voice of minority groups by conveniently drawing the lines to minimize their
The Impact: This case caused a shift in the Supreme Court's logic and involvement with political redistricting cases. In future cases, the Supreme Court ruled that redistricting be done according to population. Though gerrymandering, which is the act or...
On November 5, 2002, voters approved the reduction of class sizes around the state, much to the dismay of the governor and well-informed citizens everywhere. Governor Bush previously had warned that the revision to the constitution would cost $27.5 billion over eight years and would force the state to raise taxes and cut services. Unfortunately, naïve supporters of class size reduction chose to go ahead with the modification of the constitution for emotional reasons, having no actual evidence demonstrating benefit from smaller classes. Much evidence exists, however, to demonstrate why this amendment should not have been passed.
Gerrymandering is very essential in our society because it entitles equal representation of seats that represents each district. No state will have too many seats nor too little depending on the census, which is conducted every ten years. Gerrymandering is a method that filters too little representation or too much representation. This term brings a balance of representation to not just the districts, but to the House of Representatives. It is important that each states district has an equal representation because one state can dominant another when it comes to passing, voting, or creating new laws. Our society since the days of our founding fathers spoke about equal representation. However, from reading this issue our society is still struggling with the issue of equal representation.
Newell, Charldean. "Inflexibility, Traditionalism, and Partisanship: The Texas Response to New Federalism." Review. Annual Review of American Federalism 12 (1981 (1983): 185-95. Publius. Oxford University Press. Web. 23 Mar. 2011.
The legislative branch of America helps create the laws or legislation. Ideally, it works to create a society that is safe for all members. The State of California like the federal government has a bicameral legislature, in other words, composed of two chambers. The upper chamber is called the senate, while the lower is called the assembly. A unique process for the state level is that it allows for the initiative. This process circumvents the state congress and can create laws without their aide. In the state of California, every ten years, following a US census, which collects demographic information, state legislators draw redistricting plans for itself, California seats in the US House of Representatives, and the State Board of Equalization. There have been attempts to create a “non-partisan” redistricting commission, but this has been turned down by voters numerous times. Proposition 14, 39, 118, and 119 were all turned down by voters to create a non-partisan districting commission. Every decade a large portion of the state congress’s energy is spent on redistricting. In fact, two of the last four censuses, Supreme Court has had to step in to break a deadlock. In 1970, Ronald Reagan, a Republican, vetoed all together the Democratic redistricting plan. The Supreme Court had to step in and created its own plans for California to follow. Then in 1981, Democrats proposed redistricting as well as congressional delegation redistricting. The Republicans stopped this by adding referendums to the state ballot. Because it was too close to elections though, Supreme Court overturned these referendums in 1982. In 1984, they officially passed the new redistricting plan which was very similar to the original plans.
When gerrymandering occurs, a political party draws the boundaries of an electoral district in a way that helps their party win elections over the other parties. For example, if a Republican controls a state, and it appears like the party will lose a seat in the future, the Republicans will draw the district in a way to exclude as many Democratic voters as possible. Perhaps they will do this by removing a democratic stronghold from one district and adding it to another district that will either easily go Republican or will have a Democratic representative no matter what happens. Before 1964, the majority party could draw districts in any way they wanted to, and chaos ensued. Consequently, in 1964, the U.S Supreme Court legislated that the districts “had to contain equal population, and be as compact as possible” (“Gerrymandering”). Every ten years the U.S. issues a census to determine the population of each state. After this, each state receives their share of the 435 seats, and then the state gets to break the population into the corresponding number of districts. This whole process, known as reapportionment, takes weeks to determine, and in many cases, courts must determine the shape and area of each district. Even though the districts must contain equal population, gerry...
In the youth of Texas, the Democratic Party enjoyed electoral dominance on all levels of state government and in the representation in the national government. Democratic rule was dominated by a conservative white political elite that strongly promoted economic development, but that resisted change either in race relations or social programs for the poor ("Texas Politics," 2009). Republicans were not completely absent during this period, but their electoral victories were few and limited in scope ("Texas Politics," 2009). In every election after 1980, however, the Republican strength grew into the now dominant rule that currently reigns in Texas. Since the 1990’s, the Republican Party, despite the attempts of others, has had a stronghold on the state government. With that being said, the Republican Party has dominated the overall elections.
"Winner-take-all” is a term used to describe single member district and at large election systems that award seats to the highest vote getters without ensuring fair representation for minority groups. In the United States, these are typically single-member district schemes or at-large, block-voting systems. Under winner-take-all rules, a slim majority of voters can control 100% of seats, leaving everyone else effectively without representation.
The single-member district election system is the most common and best-known electoral system currently in use in America. It is used to elect the U.S. House Representatives, as well as many state and local legislatures. Under single member district systems, an area is divided into a number of geographically defined voting districts, each represented by a single elected official. Voters can only vote for their district’s representative, with the individual receiving the most votes winning election. This method of electing representatives is better than any alternative solution in various ways. Four compelling reasons to support the single-member district election system include the fact that single-member districts give each voter a single, easily identifiable district member; the way single-member district voting helps protect against overreaching party influence; that single-member districts ensure geographic representation; and finally, that single-member districts are the best way to maximize representatives’ accountability.