Stephen Wolf+ Your Authors @PoliticsWolf @DKElections staff writer covering voting rights, gerrymandering, maps, & poli sci. Get the free Voting Rights Roundup weekly newsletter Jun. 13, 2019 2 min read + Your Authors

New York has a nonpartisan congressional map drawn by @persily, but I think Upstate NY (CDs 18-27) could've been redrawn to better reflect communities of interest & use Tennant v. Jefferson County. Based on @commoncauseny's map yet splitting fewer counties, here's my proposed map

This map's partisan impact is probably pretty limited & likely wouldn't have changed the net distribution of seats until 2018. #NY24 becomes solidly red, but #NY22 takes its place as Dem-leaning. Dem Rep. Brindisi could've run there in 2018 while Dems may've flipped #NY23 in 2018

Special thanks to @BenJ_Rosenblatt & @cinyc9, who've been compiling a statewide precinct result & map file for New York, which helped me to calculate the 2018 statewide election results for this hypothetical alternate nonpartisan map in New York

Tennant v. Jefferson County Commission was a Sept 2012 SCOTUS ruling upholding WV's practice of congressional districts not splitting counties (so long as district populations are within 1% of each other). It could've been applied to many states to limit county/township splits

2010's redistricting cycle was almost over by this ruling's release, so it had limited impact on actual maps. But it has major implications: States don't have to split counties if the population difference is small enough, even if other counties too big to remain whole are split

After the 2010 census, IA & WV have congressional districts that split no counties, AR split no 2010 precincts (& #AR02 is entirely whole counties), & NH split 0 towns, even though each of those maps has a population deviation greater than the literal minimum but <1% overall

My takeaway from Tennant v. Jefferson County is that govt units such as counties or townships don't have to be split so long as districts have a <1% population deviation. Thus, my preferred nonpartisan Pennsylvania congressional map splits no cities/townships except Philadelphia

Likewise, my preferred nonpartisan Michigan congressional map also only splits no townships aside from Detroit, which like Philadelphia was too big for a single district after the 2010 census. Both maps have the districts below a <1% deviation in terms of population

Those of you who've followed my maps closely may realize that what I prefer as a nonpartisan Pennsylvania congressional map slightly differs from the 2 proposals I submitted to PA's Supreme Court in 2018 (1 of which very closely resembled the court's adopted map when renumbered)

The reason for this divergence is twofold: First, I adhered to the bare-minimum population deviation standard solely because it gave SCOTUS less reason to intervene in a state court decision. That meant splitting townships that Tennant v. Jefferson County would deem unnecessary

The second reason involves Beaver County in Pittsburgh's suburbs. My preferred map upthread splits Beaver, but the map I sent the court kept it whole. But splitting that additional county makes sense, because it makes #PA17 even more high-income suburbs & #PA16 more working-class

One may note that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's adopted districts for PA's congressional map appeared to secretly take partisan fairness into account. That's a good metric I wish every state used, but my maps ignored it & thus fared slightly worse on it 

You can follow @PoliticsWolf.


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