Some election results

* As expected, Democrats took over both houses in the Virginia legislature, sweeping the D.C. and Richmond suburbs where they successfully nationalized the issues. Virginia has been a badly gerrymandered state, which figured as an issue in the campaign. Now that they are fully in charge of the process, Virginia Democrats will need to decide whether they actually believe in moving toward neutral and impartial redistricting methods that take the power of line-drawing out of the hands of interested parties.

* New York City voters overwhelmingly approved a proposal to adopt ranked choice voting (RCV) in primary and some other elections. While I know this isn’t a universally shared view, I see a lot of merit in ranked choice voting and look forward to seeing more large jurisdictions experiment with it.

* Jim Hood, whose doings as Mississippi Attorney General have long furnished grist for this blog, looks to have fallen short in his bid for Mississippi governor.

* The “crime victims’ rights” package known as Marsy’s Law was on the Pennsylvania ballot. My piece on why it’s a really, really bad idea.

14 Comments

  • I’m one of those people who disapprove of the “ranked voting” system that New York City has just approved. To my way of thinking, it legitimizes fringe parties and makes special-interest and barmy considerations. Now the “End mandatory inoculations because it’s part of the alien plot to mutilate cattle and probe my genitalia” party can point out that they polled 3% at the first round, so they have to be considered in making political decisions.

    I write as a 4th-generation New Yorker who occasionally votes for fringe parties when none of the “legitimate” parties offer candidates I can vote for; my reasoning is that such votes show dissatisfaction.

    Bob

    • My biggest objection to changing any voting scheme is people tend to want them most when their candidates are losing (e.g., the people who want to end the electoral college). Something just doesn’t smell right about that.

      None of these schemes are perfect.

  • I’m with the LP in NYC. Despite our best efforts, we were disappointed when the Charter Commission voted down an amendment to extend Ranked Choice Voting to general elections 8-7. We are now stuck with an incomplete reform. I do hope it works out well and the spirit of non-confrontational elections takes hold. We will continue our efforts to extend RCV’s application.

  • As far as a neutral redistricting method that takes it out of the hands of neutral parties… I’ve thought about a constitutional amendment by initiative that woukd make members of the state legislature in office when redistricting occurs ineligible to serve again until after the next redistricting. The people.who make the law shoukdn’t be able to benefit from it, after all.

    • I meant takes it out of the hands of interested parties. It’s still early, my caffeine hasn’t fully kicked in.

      • too much blood in your caffeine stream?

  • I am of the view that the more parties, the better. If we had three or four parties represented at the national level, there would be no choice but to compromise. Now we have a binary choice and no-one is really happy. As for fringe parties, yes, they would be out there. And they represent a constituency, so why should they not be heard. But, they would remain in the fringe, with the larger parties having more of a say.

    IMHO, the framers intended for there to be more than two parties, but as things coalesced in the beginning of the 19th century, we got a two party system that only changed during times of dramatic upheaval.

    Having multiple parties would also lead to a president who is not so polarizing.

    • “not so polarizing”

      Maybe. But then, explain Netanyahu.

      • Or look at Italy the first 50 years after WW2–at several points there had been more Italian governments than years after the war…

    • As I read the constitution, the intent of the framers was zero political parties.

      Ben Franklin is supposed to have written that political parties were inherently anti-democratic.

  • The Virginia State Senate, which the Democrats now control 21-to-19, was gerrymanded by the Democrats in 2011, back when they controlled it. Ironically, they lost control in the November 2011 elections. They have no regained control of that body.

    The Virginia House of Delegates, which the Democrats now control 55-to-45, was gerrymandered by the Republicans in 2011. But they lost control this Tuesday partly because a 2019 court ruling redrew some of those districts in a way that favored Democrats rather than Republicans, accounting for 4 of the 6 seats they lost on Tuesday.

    • According to your math, the VA house would be 51-49 under the old house gerrymander.

      Also, I don’t think history supports your version of the Virginia state senate redistricting after 2010. The repubican governor vetoed the first plan (which had a Senate map drawn by senate democrats) and only after the governor’s concerns were addressed did the redistricting get approved by the governor. The house of delagates maps, authored by republicans, did not change until the courts changed them.

      I would submit that gerrymandering based on political party is a bad thing all around.

      Finally, Mr. Bader, your posts on voting issues should always be read with a grain of salt. You have views many would consider bias toward non-democratic reforms. Rather than seeking solutions to problems, you seek to sweep the problems under the rug and advocate methods that make them worse.

  • But all the “gerrymandering” had been made effectively legal by court rulings on the Voting Rights Act, with courts trying to add race as a factor in voting districts instead of simply numbers of people per district.

    • It is not the case that “all the gerrymandering” was authorized or promoted by the way the Voting Rights Act has been interpreted to favor majority-minority districts. Some has, and those interactions are worth knowing about (and often significant in their impact). Other instances of gerrymandering, however, are unrelated to the VRA.

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