This is a big year for partisan gerrymandering. Recently, star litigator Paul M. Smith has cleared the decks for voting-rights cases in the courts. That’s just one move of many that assures that voting rights will be in the spotlight in the coming Supreme Court term.
The effects of partisan gerrymandering are plain in the graph above. Up until and including the election of 2010, seats the U.S. House were related to the national vote as indicated by the shaded gray zone. The redistricting of 2010 led to a jump of about a dozen seats away from recent historical trends. The suddenness of this change, along with my statistical analysis (Stanford Law Review) reveals how this jump arose from partisan redistricting efforts in a handful of states. The jump comes from the fact that more advantage was gained by one side (NC, PA, OH, MI, VA) than the other (IL, MD). This net change can vary by decade, and depends on who controls the legislative process.
Today, I am pleased to announce that starting in 2017, I will take my work on partisan gerrymandering to a new level. I am now looking for full-time help for the next one to two years.
As many readers know, I have developed simple statistical standards to define partisan gerrymandering. These standards are designed to be consistent with existing Supreme Court precedent, and avoid statutory and Constitutional landmines that other standards may hit. Representationally, this project may lead to a net change of dozens of House and other legislative seats. Cases are now percolating through courts in Maryland (a gerrymander that benefits Democrats) and Wisconsin and North Carolina (benefiting Republicans). Without getting into the details, I will say that our work will be unique, and is highly likely to be deployed as an argument in these cases.
My proposed standards have been published in the Stanford Law Review and the Election Law Journal, and have won a prize from Common Cause. If adopted, the tests will level the playing field between the two parties.
I am now recruiting a Statistical Research Assistant to analyze elections and redistricting. The term of appointment is one year, renewable for a second year.
Together, we will:
- Apply the statistical analysis to Congress and state legislatures, 1900-now, to identify which states and parties benefited, and to compare this with patterns of legislative control;
- Compare the results with map-based methods and other newer standards such as the efficiency gap; and
- Assist in the preparation of reports, in-depth analysis, and possible peer-reviewed publications.
This position is very suitable for someone who is between college and graduate school. More experienced applicants are also welcome. In all cases, the person must be available full-time. Progress on this project will drive practical impacts and original publications. The ideal candidate will have experience in statistics, have some experience with MATLAB and Python, and be able to communicate clearly and accurately with non-statistician audiences. He/she will learn to use Maptitude for Redistricting.
Soon there will be an official job posting, at which time the goals and requirements may be modified slightly. In advance of that, I invite interested people to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and describe their qualifications and availability.