Redistricting not going to be an easy task
October 25, 2011
Three Special Masters appointed by a district judge several months ago released their redistricting map for Nevada last week.
Instead of the Legislature wrangling with the chore, lawmakers essentially deferred their responsibility to draw up the lines as required every 10 years because of the census and population shifts.
In addition to establishing new redistricting lines, the Special Masters also had to add a fourth congressional district that Nevada inherited because of the state’s booming population.
Except for one district, the three others own a fairly good chunk of Clark County, which has a stronger Democrat base than the rest of the state.
Two of the districts are solely in populous Clark County.
District 1 is 53 percent Democrat and 25 percent Republican, while District 3 shows a tighter margin between the two main parties, 40 percent Democrat and 37 percent Republican.
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District 2 resembles about two-thirds of the current second congressional seat currently held by Mark Amodei and encompasses Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon (except for the southern portion), Pershing, Storey and Washoe counties. The Republicans hold a 43-35 percent advantage over the Democrats, and this is good news for Amodei.
Meanwhile, the rest of the rural counties are lumped in with what’s left of Clark County in District 4 that has a 44-33 Democratic edge over the GOP.
As with any process like this, flaws will abound, but the three Special Masters avoided having contests between incumbents and kept the population variance within 1 percent.
Although the Nevada Supreme Court will have the final decision on Nevada’s redistricting plan, Central Nevada – and particularly Churchill County – loses its State Senate voice as the district would become Douglas, Storey, Churchill and Lyon counties represented by James Settelmeyer of Douglas County.
While plans are not perfect, having three Special Masters who are not members of the Legislature made sense in trying to draw up something feasible for the next decade.
With that said, if any of the political parties object to the redistricting map, they’ve had an opportunity to file opposition briefs, and a hearing will be set for the end of this week, well before the Supreme Court’s Nov. 14 hearing.
Editorials are written by the LVN Editorial Board.