If every state had NC-style clusters, what would they end up like?
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November 29, 2021, 03:35:26 PM

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  If every state had NC-style clusters, what would they end up like?
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Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil
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« on: November 24, 2021, 12:18:57 AM »

For purposes of this exercise just imagine the numbers of seats in every state legislature remains the same.
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Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2021, 02:50:45 AM »

I drew this up for Michigan House:
1-seat
Leelanau+Benzie+Manistee+Mason
Oceana+Newaygo+Lake
Grand Traverse
Charlesvoix+Antrim+Otsego+Kalkaska
Oscoda+Crawford+Roscommon+Missaukee+Wexford
Lapeer

2 seats
Calhoun+Branch
Gratiot+Montcalm+Ionia
Keweenaw+Houghton+Ontonagon+Gogebic+Baraga+Iron+Dickinson+Marquette+Alger
Menominee+Delta+Schoolcraft+Luce+Mackinac+Chippewa+Cheboygan+Emmet
Isabella+Clare+Gladwin+Osceola+Mecosta

3 seats
Berrien+Cass+St. Joseph
Kalamazoo
Shiawassee+Livingston
Tuscola+Bay+Arenac+Iosco+Ogemaw+Alcona+Alpena+Montmorency+Presque Isle
Saginaw+Midland

4 seats
Washtenaw
Eaton+Barry+Allegan+Van Buren
Clinton+Ingham

5 seats
Monroe+Lenawee+Hillsdale+Jackson
Muskegon+Ottawa

7 seats
Kent

12 seats
Huron+Sanilac+St. Clair+Macomb

18 seats
Oakland+Genesee

20 seats
Wayne

56 seats out of 110 are assigned to Biden-voting clusters.

https://davesredistricting.org/join/97526c36-13bc-4608-8197-e5a71e610511
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CookieDamage
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2021, 09:58:47 PM »

What's an NC cluster?
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Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2021, 10:46:20 PM »

North Carolina minimizes county splits on state legislative level by having groups of counties in which a given number of seats must be nested. These are typically as small as possible.
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Senator OBD
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2021, 11:19:56 PM »



This is what I came up with for Oregon. As Senate and House seats are nested, this is the Senate distribution - each cluster has twice as many House seats as Senate seats.

Oregon is a difficult state to do this for, with a relatively small number of counties, significant amounts of cases where larger counties block connections to other counties, as well as many issues with road contiguity (unfortunately Benton-Linn-Deschutes is not contiguous by road, but couldn't think of a way around it without screwing up the other clusters).

Of note is that just 6 of the 30 districts are in clusters that voted for Trump 2020 (though Polk-Marion and Benton-Linn-Deschutes are Trump-Biden cluters).
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Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2021, 12:35:28 AM »



This is what I came up with for Oregon. As Senate and House seats are nested, this is the Senate distribution - each cluster has twice as many House seats as Senate seats.

Oregon is a difficult state to do this for, with a relatively small number of counties, significant amounts of cases where larger counties block connections to other counties, as well as many issues with road contiguity (unfortunately Benton-Linn-Deschutes is not contiguous by road, but couldn't think of a way around it without screwing up the other clusters).

Of note is that just 6 of the 30 districts are in clusters that voted for Trump 2020 (though Polk-Marion and Benton-Linn-Deschutes are Trump-Biden cluters).
This is what I came up for the House with if one disregards nesting.

https://davesredistricting.org/join/47cc61ea-3d41-4728-a7bb-23af432d2e7c
All the clusters that border California, Nevada, and/or Idaho voted for Trump. All others voted for Biden. The former clusters have 11 seats out of 60, the latter have 49.
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Senator OBD
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2021, 01:00:12 AM »



This is what I came up with for Oregon. As Senate and House seats are nested, this is the Senate distribution - each cluster has twice as many House seats as Senate seats.

Oregon is a difficult state to do this for, with a relatively small number of counties, significant amounts of cases where larger counties block connections to other counties, as well as many issues with road contiguity (unfortunately Benton-Linn-Deschutes is not contiguous by road, but couldn't think of a way around it without screwing up the other clusters).

Of note is that just 6 of the 30 districts are in clusters that voted for Trump 2020 (though Polk-Marion and Benton-Linn-Deschutes are Trump-Biden cluters).
This is what I came up for the House with if one disregards nesting.

https://davesredistricting.org/join/47cc61ea-3d41-4728-a7bb-23af432d2e7c
All the clusters that border California, Nevada, and/or Idaho voted for Trump. All others voted for Biden. The former clusters have 11 seats out of 60, the latter have 49.
Nice. Pretty similar to what I got, though I opted for some larger, weirder clusters for lower pop deviation. Think I lumped Josephine and the southeastern counties with Jackson, pushed Lincoln with Lane and Linn, and gave Hood to Multnomah, among other changes.
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Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2021, 07:31:52 AM »
« Edited: November 26, 2021, 02:03:49 PM by Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil »



This is what I came up with for Oregon. As Senate and House seats are nested, this is the Senate distribution - each cluster has twice as many House seats as Senate seats.

Oregon is a difficult state to do this for, with a relatively small number of counties, significant amounts of cases where larger counties block connections to other counties, as well as many issues with road contiguity (unfortunately Benton-Linn-Deschutes is not contiguous by road, but couldn't think of a way around it without screwing up the other clusters).

Of note is that just 6 of the 30 districts are in clusters that voted for Trump 2020 (though Polk-Marion and Benton-Linn-Deschutes are Trump-Biden cluters).
This is what I came up for the House with if one disregards nesting.

https://davesredistricting.org/join/47cc61ea-3d41-4728-a7bb-23af432d2e7c
All the clusters that border California, Nevada, and/or Idaho voted for Trump. All others voted for Biden. The former clusters have 11 seats out of 60, the latter have 49.
Nice. Pretty similar to what I got, though I opted for some larger, weirder clusters for lower pop deviation. Think I lumped Josephine and the southeastern counties with Jackson, pushed Lincoln with Lane and Linn, and gave Hood to Multnomah, among other changes.
https://davesredistricting.org/join/badac52c-ca31-46d5-97c4-038085d94a07
This is a neutral map using such nestings.
https://davesredistricting.org/join/12fbd651-45b0-4e99-8b83-20b1be677631
Dem hack map. Only 13 Republican seats.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2021, 10:04:53 AM »

North Carolina minimizes county splits on state legislative level by having groups of counties in which a given number of seats must be nested. These are typically as small as possible.
The North Carolina constitution forbids division of counties. It does permit multi-member districts and multi-county districts.

In larger counties, VRA requirements likely require single-member districts. Formerly (before 2010) VRA districts were drawn in rural areas. There are very few counties with a majority black population, so these districts tended to snake across the landscape trying to connect areas with a majority black population, perhaps dividing small cities based on where the black population lives.

Over time the rural black population has declined, moving first to Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and other northern cities, and now to cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh where there are better economic opportunities. The overall increase in the total population has required larger legislative districts. If you have stretched across multiple counties to create a black-majority district, and you have to add population, you may be unable to maintain a black majority. This has particularly happened in southeastern North Carolina. At some point you may be assigning persons to districts based on race.

In rural areas of the northeast where there is a substantial black population, you might not have to draw snakes, because you may be packing. If a county is 50% black, the areas where blacks predominate may be 60% or 70% black. In addition, the Gingles condition that whites vote as bloc to prevent election of the black candidate of choice may no  longer hold. With black turnout as high as or exceeding white turnout in many areas, there might be a relatively small cross-over vote needed.

Through 2010, and the initial 2010 redistricting, the VRA districts were drawn first, and then county clusters were drawn around them. After mid-decade litigation, the snakes were eliminated and pure county clustering was used.

The reason for county clustering is that it minimizes county cutting which violates the NC Constitution. Unlike in Texas, where single-member districts in large counties is considered to be a constitutional manner regulation, it is considered a violation of the NC Constitution. Nevertheless, if you draw a whole number of districts in Wake or Mecklenburg or other large counties you avoid an additional split of a district that crosses a county line.

The NC Supreme Court has also ruled that 2-member districts violate equal protection (this might be under the NC Constitution rather than the US Constitution) because it lets some voters vote for two representatives rather than just one, even if there twice as many of them. You might have previously been able to draw a group of counties that had a population equal to two representatives and elected them at large, this is no longer possible. Instead you are going to split one of the counties.

Generally more clusters means fewer county cuts. If you have a county cluster entitled to three representatives, and you can split it on county lines such that one cluster has two representatives, and the other one, and have eliminated a cut.

If clusters have fewer counties, this will tend to produce more of them. There is a belief in North Carolina that you should draw the one county clusters first, then the two-county clusters, and so on. This might not produce the minimum number of clusters, but will generally do a fairly good job.

However it may force fewer clusters and greater deviation. Whenever you set off one cluster you must also ensure that any remaining contiguous groups of counties can be apportioned a whole number of representatives.

This may increase the deviation and require more county cuts. Imagine that you apportion five representatives to an area entitled to 4.85 representatives. This creates an unreasonable -3.0% deviation. But it also forces the 0.15 representatives to be placed in other districts. And what if that area is entitled to 3.15 representatives. Each district must have a population of exactly 1.0500000 quotas. You may be forcing another cut. If the area was entitled to 3.08 representatives you might have been able to divide it on a county line.

This happened in North Carolina in the mid-2010 redistricting. If you look at the area south of Raleigh you will find such districts where little nibbles of counties were bitten off to get exact populations just as offensive as when doing congressional redistricting.

If I were scoring a North Carolina clustering plan, I would score it based on implied county cuts and lowest standard deviation.

Or better based on Texas, I would only penalize division of smaller counties - less than a quota. Ties would be broken based on lowest standard deviation.
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Sorenroy
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2021, 12:31:52 PM »


North Carolina minimizes county splits on state legislative level by having groups of counties in which a given number of seats must be nested. These are typically as small as possible.

The North Carolina constitution forbids division of counties. It does permit multi-member districts and multi-county districts.

In larger counties, VRA requirements likely require single-member districts. Formerly (before 2010) VRA districts were drawn in rural areas. There are very few counties with a majority black population, so these districts tended to snake across the landscape trying to connect areas with a majority black population, perhaps dividing small cities based on where the black population lives.

Over time the rural black population has declined, moving first to Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and other northern cities, and now to cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh where there are better economic opportunities. The overall increase in the total population has required larger legislative districts. If you have stretched across multiple counties to create a black-majority district, and you have to add population, you may be unable to maintain a black majority. This has particularly happened in southeastern North Carolina. At some point you may be assigning persons to districts based on race.

In rural areas of the northeast where there is a substantial black population, you might not have to draw snakes, because you may be packing. If a county is 50% black, the areas where blacks predominate may be 60% or 70% black. In addition, the Gingles condition that whites vote as bloc to prevent election of the black candidate of choice may no  longer hold. With black turnout as high as or exceeding white turnout in many areas, there might be a relatively small cross-over vote needed.

Through 2010, and the initial 2010 redistricting, the VRA districts were drawn first, and then county clusters were drawn around them. After mid-decade litigation, the snakes were eliminated and pure county clustering was used.

The reason for county clustering is that it minimizes county cutting which violates the NC Constitution. Unlike in Texas, where single-member districts in large counties is considered to be a constitutional manner regulation, it is considered a violation of the NC Constitution. Nevertheless, if you draw a whole number of districts in Wake or Mecklenburg or other large counties you avoid an additional split of a district that crosses a county line.

The NC Supreme Court has also ruled that 2-member districts violate equal protection (this might be under the NC Constitution rather than the US Constitution) because it lets some voters vote for two representatives rather than just one, even if there twice as many of them. You might have previously been able to draw a group of counties that had a population equal to two representatives and elected them at large, this is no longer possible. Instead you are going to split one of the counties.

Generally more clusters means fewer county cuts. If you have a county cluster entitled to three representatives, and you can split it on county lines such that one cluster has two representatives, and the other one, and have eliminated a cut.

If clusters have fewer counties, this will tend to produce more of them. There is a belief in North Carolina that you should draw the one county clusters first, then the two-county clusters, and so on. This might not produce the minimum number of clusters, but will generally do a fairly good job.

However it may force fewer clusters and greater deviation. Whenever you set off one cluster you must also ensure that any remaining contiguous groups of counties can be apportioned a whole number of representatives.

This may increase the deviation and require more county cuts. Imagine that you apportion five representatives to an area entitled to 4.85 representatives. This creates an unreasonable -3.0% deviation. But it also forces the 0.15 representatives to be placed in other districts. And what if that area is entitled to 3.15 representatives. Each district must have a population of exactly 1.0500000 quotas. You may be forcing another cut. If the area was entitled to 3.08 representatives you might have been able to divide it on a county line.

This happened in North Carolina in the mid-2010 redistricting. If you look at the area south of Raleigh you will find such districts where little nibbles of counties were bitten off to get exact populations just as offensive as when doing congressional redistricting.

If I were scoring a North Carolina clustering plan, I would score it based on implied county cuts and lowest standard deviation.

Or better based on Texas, I would only penalize division of smaller counties - less than a quota. Ties would be broken based on lowest standard deviation.

I don't want to clip your post, the whole thing does a great job summarizing the history of how the clusters come about, but the examples you give in the bolded paragraph are actually reasonable in deviation under North Carolina's current rules. As long as population does not deviate by more than 5% off of the ideal district size, it is allowed. So a cluster entitled to 4.85 representatives getting 5 or a cluster entitled to 3.15 representatives getting 3 is actually within that acceptable range. You could even lose a tenth of an entitled delegate in the first example and it would still be fine.

This does create some interesting potentials for states with large counties and lots of reps. Once you start getting up into the double-digit level for entitled representatives, the population deviations start to overlap. A county or county-cluster that is given 10 delegates might be due anywhere from 9.5 to 10.5 based on its population. A district given 11 delegates is due between 10.45 and 11.55 delegates. That overlap on the upper- and lower-ends makes for some variation that depends on the smaller counties and the clusters they make up. So even though county-clusters are determined first, delegates are not necessarily determined until after the clusters are made because potentially larger counties might be given or need to shed a district to optimize down the line.

In North Carolina, our two largest counties are Mechlenburg and Wake, and both received 13 delegates, and both could've only received 13 delegates because they were only within that range. However, in other states where single counties are more dominant, this might come into play. For example, Cook county, Illinois would be entitled to an ideal of ~48.59 districts, but could actually receive between 47 and 51 of the State House's 118 districts depending on what creates optimal later clusters if they were operating under North Carolina's own standards.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2021, 02:45:25 PM »

[...]
This may increase the deviation and require more county cuts. Imagine that you apportion five representatives to an area entitled to 4.85 representatives. This creates an unreasonable -3.0% deviation. But it also forces the 0.15 representatives to be placed in other districts. And what if that area is entitled to 3.15 representatives. Each district must have a population of exactly 1.0500000 quotas. You may be forcing another cut. If the area was entitled to 3.08 representatives you might have been able to divide it on a county line.
[...]

I don't want to clip your post, the whole thing does a great job summarizing the history of how the clusters come about, but the examples you give in the bolded paragraph are actually reasonable in deviation under North Carolina's current rules. As long as population does not deviate by more than 5% off of the ideal district size, it is allowed. So a cluster entitled to 4.85 representatives getting 5 or a cluster entitled to 3.15 representatives getting 3 is actually within that acceptable range. You could even lose a tenth of an entitled delegate in the first example and it would still be fine.
[...]
I think jimrtex may have meant to write reasonable instead of unreasonable in the third sentence in the bolded paragraph. ("This creates a reasonable -3.0% deviation.")  The remainder in his example had no wiggle room, if you are committed to keeping each district within 5% of the ideal population.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2021, 04:37:25 PM »
« Edited: November 26, 2021, 05:07:38 PM by Kevinstat »

For the Maine Senate, with 35 members (although under the Maine Constitution that number could also be 33 or 31), there are several NC-style clusters that would work, that don't involve relying on a northern Washington State Cascades-type boundary for contiguity. I would put Aroostook County's boundary with Piscataquis and Somerset counties in that category, as well as (at the congressional and State Senate levels but not the State House level, depending how far into a certain county the crossing district went) the Lincoln-Waldo and Hancock-Knox boundaries. Hancock-Knox, which might be the most easily identifiable "bad" connection as it involves going out to the ocean, is arguably the least egregious of these. Isle Au Haut in Knox County has its ferry connection to Stonington in Hancock County (also on an island but one with a road connection to the mainland) and at the State Senate level Isle Au Haut has alternated between Rockland- and Ellsworth/MDI/(most of the) Blue Hill peninsula-based districts. It will be moving into the latter come next year's primary and general elections. That seems fine to me but I wouldn't want anything else in Knox County being in a Hancock County-based district, or any Hancock County towns being in a Knox County based district. There's also long been an "Island" House district straddling the Knox-Hancock line, but not including Islesboro or any of Waldo County.

Okay, I got sidetracked there. Anyway, in Maine, there are a slew of NC-style clusters that would work, some being alternatives including some of the same counties so obviously you couldn't use the two together but even some of the ones without any counties in common are such that you couldn't do all of them, because it would leave the rest of the state outside of the 5% range for the number of Senate districts that are left.

Androscoggin (2.8552 or 30.9517 quotas, so −4.83% for 3 districts), Cumberland (7.7861 or 80.9733 quotas, so −2.67% for 8 districts), Knox (1.0432 quotas, so +4.32% for 1 district), Waldo (1.0175 quotas, so +1.75% for 1 district) and Penobscot (3.9101 or 40.9775 quotas, so −2.25% for 4 districts) counties could all be their own cluster. But all of those could potentially be used to shore up counties or groups or counties that would otherwise be out or range or discontiguous, although the ones I've seen involving Waldo County seem rather silly (Franklin-Kennebec-Waldo-Hancock-Washington or Franklin-Kennebec-Somerset-Waldo-Hancock).

One measure of how well one is following the North Carolina method is the number of clusters (counties with no partial districts are their own cluster). The more clusters, the better.  I've come up with a couple "cover plans" for a 35-member Maine Senate with 8 clusters, and I thought I had one with 9 but then I realized I'd left out Piscataquis County.  I'll show what I've come up with in a later post (I'm having some computer power issues at the moment).
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2021, 05:18:47 PM »
« Edited: November 26, 2021, 05:37:02 PM by Kevinstat »

Some 8-cluster plans for a 35-member Maine Senate I've come up with:

Androscoggin (3 districts; 2.8552 or 30.9517 quotas; −4.83%)
Aroostook-Washington-Hancock-Penobscot-Piscataquis (8 districts; 8.2898 or 81.0362 quotas; +3.62%)
Cumberland (8 districts; 7.7861 or 80.9733 quotas; −2.67%)
Franklin-Somerset (2 districts; 2.0535 or 21.0268 quotas; +2.68%)
Kennebec-Lincoln-Sagadahoc (5 districts; 5.0245 or 51.0049 quotas; +0.49%)
Waldo (1 district; 1.0175 quotas; +1.75%)
Knox (1 district; 1.0432 quotas; +4.32%)
Oxford-York (7 districts; 6.9300 or 70.9900 quotas; −1.00%)

Androscoggin (3 districts; 2.8552 or 30.9517 quotas; −4.83%)
Aroostook-Washington-Hancock (4 districts; 3.9481 or 40.9870 quotas; −1.30%)
Cumberland-York (13 districts; 13.2318 or 131.0178 quotas; +1.78%)
Kennebec-Lincoln-Sagadahoc (5 districts; 5.0245 or 51.0049 quotas; +0.49%)
Waldo (1 district; 1.0175 quotas; +1.75%)
Knox (1 district; 1.0432 quotas; +4.32%)
Oxford-Franklin-Somerset-Piscataquis (4 districts; 3.9695 or 40.9924 quotas; −0.76%)
Penobscot (4 districts; 3.9101 or 40.9775 quotas; −2.25%)

What I thought I had for a 9-cluster plan:

Androscoggin (3 districts; 2.8552 or 30.9517 quotas; −4.83%)
Aroostook-Washington-Hancock (4 districts; 3.9481 or 40.9870 quotas; −1.30%)
Cumberland (8 districts; 7.7861 or 80.9733 quotas; −2.67%)
Franklin-Somerset (2 districts; 2.0535 or 21.0268 quotas; +2.68%)
Kennebec-Lincoln-Sagadahoc (5 districts; 5.0245 or 51.0049 quotas; +0.49%)
Waldo (1 district; 1.0175 quotas; +1.75%)
Knox (1 district; 1.0432 quotas; +4.32%)
Oxford-York (7 districts; 6.9300 or 70.9900 quotas; −1.00%)
Penobscot (4 districts; 3.9101 or 40.9775 quotas; −2.25%)
Piscataquis (0 districts; 0.4316 or 0∞ quotas; +∞%)
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Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2021, 05:42:24 PM »

Maine House is interesting. Many counties aren't very far from quota by themselves but have to be combined with others.
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Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2021, 05:49:27 PM »
« Edited: November 26, 2021, 05:56:49 PM by Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil »

https://davesredistricting.org/join/8d9c3eed-aba7-4a2b-8b19-24067e69749c
Arostock+Washington: 11 -1.05% Trump
Hancock: 6 2.49% Biden
Penobscot: 17 -0.77% Trump
Piscataquis+Somerset+Waldo: 12 -1.27% Trump
Franklin+Oxford: 10 -3.31% Trump
Lincoln+Knox+Kennebec: 22 0.50% Biden
Sagadhoc: 4 1.69% Biden
Androscoggin: 12 2.66% Trump
Cumberland: 34 -1.20% Biden
York: 23 2.15% Biden
62/151 seats in Trump clusters
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Southern Delegate Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2021, 06:03:53 PM »

I don't want to clip your post, the whole thing does a great job summarizing the history of how the clusters come about, but the examples you give in the bolded paragraph are actually reasonable in deviation under North Carolina's current rules. As long as population does not deviate by more than 5% off of the ideal district size, it is allowed. So a cluster entitled to 4.85 representatives getting 5 or a cluster entitled to 3.15 representatives getting 3 is actually within that acceptable range. You could even lose a tenth of an entitled delegate in the first example and it would still be fine.

This does create some interesting potentials for states with large counties and lots of reps. Once you start getting up into the double-digit level for entitled representatives, the population deviations start to overlap. A county or county-cluster that is given 10 delegates might be due anywhere from 9.5 to 10.5 based on its population. A district given 11 delegates is due between 10.45 and 11.55 delegates. That overlap on the upper- and lower-ends makes for some variation that depends on the smaller counties and the clusters they make up. So even though county-clusters are determined first, delegates are not necessarily determined until after the clusters are made because potentially larger counties might be given or need to shed a district to optimize down the line.

In North Carolina, our two largest counties are Mechlenburg and Wake, and both received 13 delegates, and both could've only received 13 delegates because they were only within that range. However, in other states where single counties are more dominant, this might come into play. For example, Cook county, Illinois would be entitled to an ideal of ~48.59 districts, but could actually receive between 47 and 51 of the State House's 118 districts depending on what creates optimal later clusters if they were operating under North Carolina's own standards.
Yeah, this has been borne out with my Maine House stuff just above. Cumberland could get 34, or 33, all to itself. I had 150 before I added one more seat to Cumberland to get 151.
My general approach is to have the closest to quota number and then adjust when needed.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2021, 01:56:12 PM »


North Carolina minimizes county splits on state legislative level by having groups of counties in which a given number of seats must be nested. These are typically as small as possible.

The North Carolina constitution forbids division of counties. It does permit multi-member districts and multi-county districts.

In larger counties, VRA requirements likely require single-member districts. Formerly (before 2010) VRA districts were drawn in rural areas. There are very few counties with a majority black population, so these districts tended to snake across the landscape trying to connect areas with a majority black population, perhaps dividing small cities based on where the black population lives.

Over time the rural black population has declined, moving first to Washington, Philadelphia, New York, and other northern cities, and now to cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh where there are better economic opportunities. The overall increase in the total population has required larger legislative districts. If you have stretched across multiple counties to create a black-majority district, and you have to add population, you may be unable to maintain a black majority. This has particularly happened in southeastern North Carolina. At some point you may be assigning persons to districts based on race.

In rural areas of the northeast where there is a substantial black population, you might not have to draw snakes, because you may be packing. If a county is 50% black, the areas where blacks predominate may be 60% or 70% black. In addition, the Gingles condition that whites vote as bloc to prevent election of the black candidate of choice may no  longer hold. With black turnout as high as or exceeding white turnout in many areas, there might be a relatively small cross-over vote needed.

Through 2010, and the initial 2010 redistricting, the VRA districts were drawn first, and then county clusters were drawn around them. After mid-decade litigation, the snakes were eliminated and pure county clustering was used.

The reason for county clustering is that it minimizes county cutting which violates the NC Constitution. Unlike in Texas, where single-member districts in large counties is considered to be a constitutional manner regulation, it is considered a violation of the NC Constitution. Nevertheless, if you draw a whole number of districts in Wake or Mecklenburg or other large counties you avoid an additional split of a district that crosses a county line.

The NC Supreme Court has also ruled that 2-member districts violate equal protection (this might be under the NC Constitution rather than the US Constitution) because it lets some voters vote for two representatives rather than just one, even if there twice as many of them. You might have previously been able to draw a group of counties that had a population equal to two representatives and elected them at large, this is no longer possible. Instead you are going to split one of the counties.

Generally more clusters means fewer county cuts. If you have a county cluster entitled to three representatives, and you can split it on county lines such that one cluster has two representatives, and the other one, and have eliminated a cut.

If clusters have fewer counties, this will tend to produce more of them. There is a belief in North Carolina that you should draw the one county clusters first, then the two-county clusters, and so on. This might not produce the minimum number of clusters, but will generally do a fairly good job.

However it may force fewer clusters and greater deviation. Whenever you set off one cluster you must also ensure that any remaining contiguous groups of counties can be apportioned a whole number of representatives.

This may increase the deviation and require more county cuts. Imagine that you apportion five representatives to an area entitled to 4.85 representatives. This creates an unreasonable -3.0% deviation. But it also forces the 0.15 representatives to be placed in other districts. And what if that area is entitled to 3.15 representatives. Each district must have a population of exactly 1.0500000 quotas. You may be forcing another cut. If the area was entitled to 3.08 representatives you might have been able to divide it on a county line.

This happened in North Carolina in the mid-2010 redistricting. If you look at the area south of Raleigh you will find such districts where little nibbles of counties were bitten off to get exact populations just as offensive as when doing congressional redistricting.

If I were scoring a North Carolina clustering plan, I would score it based on implied county cuts and lowest standard deviation.

Or better based on Texas, I would only penalize division of smaller counties - less than a quota. Ties would be broken based on lowest standard deviation.

I don't want to clip your post, the whole thing does a great job summarizing the history of how the clusters come about, but the examples you give in the bolded paragraph are actually reasonable in deviation under North Carolina's current rules. As long as population does not deviate by more than 5% off of the ideal district size, it is allowed. So a cluster entitled to 4.85 representatives getting 5 or a cluster entitled to 3.15 representatives getting 3 is actually within that acceptable range. You could even lose a tenth of an entitled delegate in the first example and it would still be fine.

This does create some interesting potentials for states with large counties and lots of reps. Once you start getting up into the double-digit level for entitled representatives, the population deviations start to overlap. A county or county-cluster that is given 10 delegates might be due anywhere from 9.5 to 10.5 based on its population. A district given 11 delegates is due between 10.45 and 11.55 delegates. That overlap on the upper- and lower-ends makes for some variation that depends on the smaller counties and the clusters they make up. So even though county-clusters are determined first, delegates are not necessarily determined until after the clusters are made because potentially larger counties might be given or need to shed a district to optimize down the line.

In North Carolina, our two largest counties are Mechlenburg and Wake, and both received 13 delegates, and both could've only received 13 delegates because they were only within that range. However, in other states where single counties are more dominant, this might come into play. For example, Cook county, Illinois would be entitled to an ideal of ~48.59 districts, but could actually receive between 47 and 51 of the State House's 118 districts depending on what creates optimal later clusters if they were operating under North Carolina's own standards.
I didn't describe the problem with the cluster that has a population equivalent to 3.15 representatives very well.

In that case the three districts had to have populations of exactly 1.05 quotas. Not only are you going to have to cross county lines, you are going to have to cross any other kind of sensible boundary just to keep all three districts within 5%.

IIRC in the case of North Carolina it was not possible to draw districts cutting only two counties in the cluster with magnitude 3 or they would have been awful.

Or consider a larger area entitled to 5.20 delegates. You might not be able to split it into two clusters because you have to distribute the excess between the clusters. If you have a an cluster with a perfect 2.0 delegates, the other is an excessive 3.20.

The problem in NC is not having cluster, but the particular algorithm they use to identify them (unless they have abandoned that).

I think in your Illinois case you may have an equal protection violation since you will be overpopulating every Cook County district, and underpopulating every downstate district (for this purpose, Lake County is downstate), or vice versa.

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jimrtex
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« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2021, 02:18:57 PM »

Some 8-cluster plans for a 35-member Maine Senate I've come up with:

Androscoggin (3 districts; 2.8552 or 30.9517 quotas; −4.83%)
Aroostook-Washington-Hancock-Penobscot-Piscataquis (8 districts; 8.2898 or 81.0362 quotas; +3.62%)
Cumberland (8 districts; 7.7861 or 80.9733 quotas; −2.67%)
Franklin-Somerset (2 districts; 2.0535 or 21.0268 quotas; +2.68%)
Kennebec-Lincoln-Sagadahoc (5 districts; 5.0245 or 51.0049 quotas; +0.49%)
Waldo (1 district; 1.0175 quotas; +1.75%)
Knox (1 district; 1.0432 quotas; +4.32%)
Oxford-York (7 districts; 6.9300 or 70.9900 quotas; −1.00%)

Androscoggin (3 districts; 2.8552 or 30.9517 quotas; −4.83%)
Aroostook-Washington-Hancock (4 districts; 3.9481 or 40.9870 quotas; −1.30%)
Cumberland-York (13 districts; 13.2318 or 131.0178 quotas; +1.78%)
Kennebec-Lincoln-Sagadahoc (5 districts; 5.0245 or 51.0049 quotas; +0.49%)
Waldo (1 district; 1.0175 quotas; +1.75%)
Knox (1 district; 1.0432 quotas; +4.32%)
Oxford-Franklin-Somerset-Piscataquis (4 districts; 3.9695 or 40.9924 quotas; −0.76%)
Penobscot (4 districts; 3.9101 or 40.9775 quotas; −2.25%)

What I thought I had for a 9-cluster plan:

Androscoggin (3 districts; 2.8552 or 30.9517 quotas; −4.83%)
Aroostook-Washington-Hancock (4 districts; 3.9481 or 40.9870 quotas; −1.30%)
Cumberland (8 districts; 7.7861 or 80.9733 quotas; −2.67%)
Franklin-Somerset (2 districts; 2.0535 or 21.0268 quotas; +2.68%)
Kennebec-Lincoln-Sagadahoc (5 districts; 5.0245 or 51.0049 quotas; +0.49%)
Waldo (1 district; 1.0175 quotas; +1.75%)
Knox (1 district; 1.0432 quotas; +4.32%)
Oxford-York (7 districts; 6.9300 or 70.9900 quotas; −1.00%)
Penobscot (4 districts; 3.9101 or 40.9775 quotas; −2.25%)
Piscataquis (0 districts; 0.4316 or 0∞ quotas; +∞%)
How many are Texas-style where you apportion a whole number of districts to large counties, and one district for any surplus or smaller counties. The goal is to avoid dividing counties with a population smaller than a quota.
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