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Redistricting Paper

Redistricting Paper

Creating Districts to Increase Minority Representation and Its Effect on Partisan Representation

This paper requires that you create districts and total population data from those districts. You will then analyze the districts you create by telling how creating districts that cater to one group impact representation for other groups. You are given a map and precinct level population totals of a fictional county in west Texas. The county is quite diverse as can be seen by the population totals. Your paper will be a report for the redistricting process involved in creating single member districts for county commissioner’s court. To do this you will create four districts for each redistricting plan. To do this you must do the following:

Rules for Redistricting
1. Precincts must stay intact. You may not split a precinct in order to get a district you want.
2. All districts must be equal in population. In other words since all precincts have equal population every district must be made up of two precincts.
3. Districts must be contiguous. In other words the two precincts that make up each district must be physically connected to each other.

For this paper you will create two redistricting plans under the rules outlined above. One will maximize African American representation by creating one district that is majority African American. The second will maximize democratic representation by creating as many majority democratic districts as possible. In creating these districts supply maps of each plan and population totals and percentages for each plan. A template is provided for you to do this. You may simply draw your districts on the map after you print out your paper if you wish, but be sure to type in your totals in the provided charts. Assume that a group will get representation if it has a majority of the district’s population and will not if it does not have a majority.

In a nutshell the paper should present each of the two redistricting plans and explain the process ensued in creating the districts. You then should present an analysis that answers the following questions.
Creating Districts to Increase Minority Representation and Its Effect on Partisan Representation

Table 1. County Precinct Totals for Race, Ethnicity and Party with map of county precincts.

Prcnt 1(Red) Prcnt 2 Prcnt 3 Prcnt 4 Prcnt 5 Prcnt 6 Prcnt 7 Prcnt 8 TOTAL
Anglo 5 80 30 10 80 90 30 75 400
Hispanic 30 10 10 80 10 5 50 10 205
Asian 5 0 10 5 5 0 10 5 40
African American 60 10 50 5 5 5 10 10 155
Democrat 90 20 70 60 50 30 40 50 410
Republican 10 80 30 40 50 70 60 50 390



Figure 1. Redistricting Plan to Maximize Democratic Representation


District 1 District 2 District 3 District 4
Population Pct Population Pct Population Pct Population Pct
African American
TOTAL 200 —— 200 —– 200 —– 200 —–

District 1 District 2 District 3 District 4
Population Pct Population Pct Population Pct Population
TOTAL 200 —– 200 —– 200 —– 200 —–
Figure 2. Redistricting Plan to Maximize African American Representation


District 1 District 2 District 3 District 4
Population Pct Population Pct Population Pct Population Pct
African American
TOTAL 200 —— 200 —– 200 —– 200 —–

District 1 District 2 District 3 District 4
Population Pct Population Pct Population Pct Population
TOTAL 200 —– 200 —– 200 —– 200 —–
1. Which plan will more likely be the plan accepted by the federal government? Cite Shaw v Reno and Bush v Vera and what they say about the Civil Rights Act of 1965 in deciding.
2. What impact does maximizing African American representation have on party representation and vice versa?
3. Citing Shaw v Reno and Bush v Vera explain why it will probably be the case that African Americans will get descriptive representation (African American will be elected to one of the seats) in the county while Hispanics will not even though there are more Hispanics in the county than African Americans.

Students should use the paper template provided to do their paper. The final version should be a Microsoft Word file. Do not send a pdf! Papers will be graded on grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. Paper text should be presented in full sentences. Maps should be properly identified as figures or tables (Figure 1. ….) that explain what is being presented. (These have already been placed in the paper template. You will need to edit them properly to do the assignment.) All figures should be understandable without the need to refer to the text of the paper. However, all figures should also be referred to in the text of the paper. All figures and tables should be on their own page without text. “A†papers must be written high level in this area. Papers will also be graded based on the districts you create. Be sure to correctly structure your districts. Finally, papers will be graded on how well you answer the three questions.



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