Cartogram of disenfranchisement rates, 2010. (Sentencing Project) In Florida, more than one in five black adults can’t vote. Not because they lack citizenship or haven’t registered, but because they have, at some point, been convicted of a felony. More than 20 percent of black adults have lost their right to vote in Florida, Kentucky and Virginia, according to the Sentencing Project, a group that advocates for reforms to sentencing policy that reduces racial disparities.
Does the Berlin Wall still exist?
By Stephen Evans
BBC News, Berlin
If you are wondering whether the two halves of Germany are becoming truly one nearly a quarter of a century after the country was officially unified, just have a look at the map of voting patterns in Berlin.
The picture is stark: the former route of the Berlin Wall divides the city into voting choices. In the constituencies of the East, voters chose Die Linke (The Left party), descended from the old communist party.
In the West, they voted for the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats (CDU), both formerly West German parties.
In a few locales in the centre of Berlin, on either side of what was the Wall, the Greens came out on top – and closer examination reveals these to be areas which have been gentrified heavily, with large numbers of young, professional incomers.
The map only takes account of votes in constituencies. Germans had two votes – one for a local candidate and a second for the party nationally. The geographic split of the second vote is not known, but the first vote reveals that old divisions run deep.
Perhaps we should not be surprised that voting habits have not changed much. After all, apart from the gentrifying areas in the centre, populations have probably remained much the same as they were before the fall of the Wall.
There was no great cross-border migration in the city after 1989. People had security of tenure in their flats, and they stayed put. Berlin had a large concentration of members of the Socialist Unity Party (as the communist party in East Germany was called), as well as the civil servants and Stasi operatives who kept the communist state running, and they have remained in their areas and transferred their loyalty to Die Linke.
But a close look does reveal a more complicated pattern. In lots of the areas of East Berlin which voted in greatest numbers for Die Linke, the second choice was the CDU. The areas of the East in the city do not gravitate towards the Social Democrats. They are torn between the far-left and the centre-right.
It gets even more interesting if you look at a map of the whole of Germany. It shows that East Germans voted in large numbers for Chancellor Merkel’s party, perhaps out of loyalty to her.
The areas where the SPD triumphed were some of the old industrialised cities of the West (Duesseldorf, Dortmund, Essen, Hamburg, Bremen).
When talking about ELECTORAL GEOGRAPHY and the importance of analyzing the effects of a changing voting population, the 2012 U.S. Census revealed a change that probably does not shock most. ETHNIC groups are on the rise and non-white majority districts are decreasing. MAJORITY-MINORITY districts have the ability to impact REDISTRICTING of voting boundaries every ten years. The ruling political party of the state conducts the redistricting, and if it can be proven to be done in their favor, it is known as GERRYMANDERING (illegal yet is still happens-Right…I don’t know either…).
Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article that explains how highly populated ETHNIC ENCLAVES can be dealt with and used for political advantage.
“So if Democrats are in charge of the redistricting process in New York in 2020, perhaps they can find a way to squeeze out another Democratic seat or two by splitting up minority voters. And if Republicans are in charge in Texas, perhaps they can avoid giving up as many seats to Democrats by diluting the minority vote in cities like Dallas and Houston.”
Basically, if there are too many minority voters who might have a tendency to vote for a Democrat in the district, they will have more votes than they need to win the district, so why not spread them out over more iffy ones?
Similarly, if a state losses or gains a larger portion of people due to MIGRATION or NATURAL POPULATION INCREASE, the 435 representative seats will need to be REAPPORTIONED (redistributed) across the states. States such as California, Texas, New York, and Illinois who already have a large number of majority-minority districts, might earn themselves more fighting power on the FEDERAL level.
Since 1982, Minority Congressional Districts Have Tripled—GRAPHIC
By Peter Bell and David Wasserman
Updated: May 29, 2013 | 9:33 p.m.
April 13, 2012 | 6:54 a.m.
In 1980, the nonwhite share of the U.S. population was 17 percent, and by 1982 there were 35 majority nonwhite districts. In the 2010 census, the nonwhite share of the nation’s population had ballooned to 28 percent, mostly fueled by Latino growth. But over the same time period, the number of nonwhite majority districts has more than tripled, to 106. For the first time ever, a majority of states–26–will contain majority nonwhite districts, in part thanks to new deliberately drawn minority-majority seats in Washington state where Asian-Americans are the largest minority group.