Each redistricting dataset merges the electoral data the SWDB collected and processed over the preceding decade with the most current census data (PL94-171). The result is a census block level dataset that allows for longitudinal analysis of electoral data over time on the same unit of analysis. Electoral data consist of the Statements of Vote (SOV) and Statements of Registration (SOR) for each statewide election. These data are collected from the Registrars of Voters for each of the 58 California counties with each election.
The SWDB collects the Statement of Vote and the Statement of Registration along with various geography files from each of the 58 counties for every statewide election. The Statement of Vote is a precinct level dataset and precincts in California change frequently between elections. The goal of the SWDB is to make election data available that can be compared over time, on the same unit of analysis – a precinct, a census block or a census tract.
St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN) - Friday, October 21, 2011
Author: Bill Salisbury firstname.lastname@example.org
Forty-two Minnesota legislators - more than one in five incumbents - would lose their seats or be forced to move under a plan to redraw the state's political boundaries that a bipartisan citizens' commission will submit to the state's five-judge redistricting panel today.
The plan drafted by a "Draw the Line Minnesota" commission would pair 84 of the 201 House and Senate members against other incumbents in the same districts next year.
Among those paired would be all four state House and Senate GOP and Democratic leaders. In addition, two congressional Republicans, Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack, would end up in the same district.
The commission's map also would enhance the chances of people of color winning metro-area seats in the Legislature.
And it would create a larger congressional district in northern Minnesota to represent American Indians.
Today is the deadline for members of the public to submit maps and written testimony to the judicial panel. If Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican- controlled Legislature fail to pass a law setting new congressional and legislative boundaries by Feb. 21, the five judges will do it for them. Political maps must be redrawn once each decade to reflect population changes.
Republican lawmakers and the state GOP planned to submit maps passed by the Legislature but vetoed by Dayton. OneMN.Org will recommend redistricting principles from the ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) communities.
Common Cause sponsored a map-drawing contest for citizens that's likely to produce submissions. Some college classes drafted redistricting plans, and individuals were welcome to suggest political borders.
"Draw the Line" is a coalition of nonprofit organizations, led by the League of Women Voters Minnesota, which tried to help citizens participate in the redistricting process. Its Citizens' Redistricting Commission is a 15-member panel of volunteers that conducted 18 public hearings across the state between July and September at which more than 300 Minnesotans expressed their views.
The group didn't set out to intentionally defeat - or protect - any incumbents, commission chair Candi Walz of Lindstrom said Thursday.
Instead, it attempted to take partisanship out of the map-making process by not considering where incumbents live, Walz said.
The map the commission produced is not intended as a rock-solid guide for the judicial panel, said commission vice chair Kent Kaiser of St. Paul. Instead, it's an example of what a map would look like based on four key redistricting principles that the group recommended to the judicial panel.
One of those principles is: "Do not intentionally protect or defeat incumbents." The group contended the needs of politicians shouldn't outweigh the interests of voters.
The commission's map "basically came out neutral," Walz said. About one-third of the legislative districts would lean Democratic, one-third would lean Republican, and the remaining one-third would be competitive between the two parties.
The group's No. 1 principle is to "preserve communities of interest." They defined such communities as "a grouping of people in a geographic area that share common economic, cultural, demographic or other interests. Cities, counties and sovereign nations are also important communities of interest."
Their plan would keep cities and counties whole wherever possible. The commission's map splits only 20 of Minnesota's 855 cities into more than one legislative district and 41 of the 87 counties.
Other communities they tried to group included Red River Valley farmers, northern Minnesota Ojibwe tribes and small rural communities that wanted to avoid sharing districts with large, dominating cities.
The commission's second principle was to "ensure fair and non-diluting minority representation." It urged the judicial panel to consider the needs and locations of the state's racial and ethnic communities in drawing the maps.
In last year's census, 17 percent of Minnesotans identified themselves as nonwhite or Hispanic, but minorities hold just 3 percent of the seats in the Legislature. If they were fairly represented, Walz said, they would hold 30 seats instead of the six they now fill.
To give the state's northern American Indian tribes a stronger voice in Congress, the commission recommended extending the 8th Congressional District, centered in northeastern Minnesota, west to take in all the northern Ojibwe reservations.
The commission's final principle called for creating "compact districts." That means keeping them as small as possible.
In geographically spread-out districts, the group said, elected representatives have more ground to cover to connect with constituents and a wider variety of interests to stand for. Compact districts make representatives more accessible to voters.
A few conservative bloggers have questioned whether the commission is unbiased because some organizations in the sponsoring coalition have liberal ties. But Kaiser, a Republican and Northwestern College communications professor, said that while conservatives are likely to object to the group's map, "our principles are nonpartisan."
Walz, the commission chair, is a political independent, small-business owner and adjunct political science professor at Century College. She once served as an intern to U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a Democrat.
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