How Re-Districting Skewed the 2012 Election

In 2010, the US Bureau of the Census conducted the decennial census of population, as required by the US Constitution. This was the second Census that I worked on. Despite running into people who did not realize that the first such census occurred in 1790, it was a real pleasure to participate in this process. What came after, however, was different.

Once the Bureau published the population numbers (not "personally identifiable"), the politicians in all 50 states got to work redrawing congressional district (and other political unit) boundaries. In Wisconsin, this task was delegated to a private law firm meeting in secret, with the latest in geographic information systems, so they could draw boundaries at the census tract level. This is the lowest level at which census data is available and is the reason that a map of Wisconsin's Assembly and Congressional Districts looks like some of them grew warts.

As it seems, the private firm had some outside assistance. Please refer to the following blog from our Teamster brethren:



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  • Karen Edson
    commented 2013-02-05 12:12:52 -0600
    Am looking forward to your workshop. It would really be nice to have a ray of hope before 2020. Thanks, Karen, for all you work, and that of your group!
  • Karen McKim
    commented 2013-02-05 10:59:48 -0600
    At the Grassroots Festival in Mazomanie on Feb. 16, we’re going to discuss this issue in the Election Integrity workshop (1:15-2:15.) Some legal action is still underway to challenge the 2011 redistricting, and it’s within the realm of possibility (though far, far from probable) that Wisconsin could correct the 2011 redistricting before the next census.

    The best chance for useful action is a bipartisan effort that is underway to change the process before the 2020 redistricting. Now is our best chance for this. Many sitting legislators know they won’t be running for re-election after 2020, so they are less likely to take the redistricting personally and more likely to be statesmen about it. It’s always a long slog to get good-government legislation passed, but every month closer to the 2020 elections is a month when it is less likely to happen.

    I’m working on getting up-to-date information about that effort before festival so that I’ll be able to share it there.
  • Tim Sager
    commented 2013-02-04 16:48:15 -0600
    “This disparity between the will of the American people and the actual outcome of the election did not happen by accident — it is largely the product of massive gerrymandering by Republican state officials.”