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Discussing Electoral College bugs at APSA

August 28th, 2019, 6:31am by Sam Wang


Tomorrow at the American Political Science Association meeting, I’ll be on a panel organized by Rick Hasen and Bruce Cain on the Electoral College. My topic: A Bug in Democracy: Mythical and True Flaws in the Electoral College. My draft working paper is here, and slides are here. Co-panelists: Amel Ahmed, Michael Morley, and Ed Foley. It should be a good discussion.

This year, APSA takes place in Washington DC. Our exact coordinates: the Marriott Wardman Park, in the Taft Room, 10:00am Thursday. If you’re attending the meeting, come by!

→ 3 CommentsTags: President

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project is hiring – National Relationship Manager and Policy Analyst

August 7th, 2019, 7:01pm by Sam Wang


Gerrymandering is worse than ever in our lifetimes. We’re working on a strategy to undo this offense (see this recent article of mine and watch this video). And we want you! We have two positions, National Relationship Manager and National Policy Analyst.

The Policy Analyst (job posting here) will expand our law and policy analysis to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. In the last year we’ve worked to apply our data and knowledge to best practices in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, and other states. The ideal candidate will have a Master’s in Public Policy or a J.D., and be comfortable working at the intersection of data, maps, and law.

The Relationship Manager (job posting herewill disseminate our mathematical, legal, and computational tools nationwide in time for the 2021 redistricting cycle.  The ideal candidate should have excellent networking skills and a startup mindset. You’re great at building relationships, extracting people’s motivations, and getting people to take action together. You will build skills and experience that will be transferable to many domains. By the time you’re done, you’ll be ready for leadership in any sector. 

Both positions are full-time for a year, renewable for a second year. We prefer candidates to relocate to the Princeton area, a great place to live.

Pass it on!

Comments Off on The Princeton Gerrymandering Project is hiring – National Relationship Manager and Policy AnalystTags: Redistricting

Miami-Dade County to the rescue on Florida voting rights

July 24th, 2019, 11:50am by Sam Wang


Thanks to citizen initiatives, 2018 was a surprisingly good year for voting rights. Florida’s Amendment 4, approved by a wide margin in November, would restore voting rights to 1.4 million people who have served their time for felony convictions. (In Florida, an example of a felony conviction is selling beer to a minor.) But a law passed by the legislature would have made rights restoration contingent on first paying fines and court costs. That would have effectively gutted the voter-approved measure.

Now, from Miami-Dade County, comes a deal between the prosecutor and public defender, as well as the state attorney. According to the deal, only fines and costs in the original sentencing document are counted – but not later costs. This will affect tens of thousands – and if it spreads throughout the whole state, hundreds of thousands – of Floridians.

→ 1 CommentTags: 2020 Election

A Fifty-State Guide To Redistricting Reform

July 13th, 2019, 6:00pm by Sam Wang


As I wrote in today’s New York Times, despite the failure of the Supreme Court to act, there’s a way forward to stop gerrymandering. Here at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, we’ve assessed the best route to reform in your state. Check it out!

One route to reform goes through state courts, as Ben Williams reported in March. See our forthcoming article in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law [SSRN link] [PDF].

The fifty-state guide above reflects a team effort by (alphabetical) Hope Johnson, James Turk, me, and Ben Williams. Email us at gerrymander@princeton.edu with your local reports and any corrections!

→ 3 CommentsTags: Redistricting · Supreme Court

Michigan Redistricting Commission: First steps

June 29th, 2019, 2:49pm by Sam Wang


Michigan’s new redistricting commission is getting off the ground! Here’s an early step: a request for statistical assistance in selecting commissioners at random from the applicant pool. Statistical consultants, put in a bid – and help move reform forward!

To see the state government’s full RFP, follow this link, click on Guest Access, and do a key word search on “statistical.”

Comments Off on Michigan Redistricting Commission: First stepsTags: Redistricting

Seven Steps Of Boom And (usually) Bust: Harris and Williamson at Step 2…Biden at Step 6?

June 28th, 2019, 12:08am by Sam Wang


In such a crowded field, it’s inevitable that some candidate will get a boomlet. How long does a boomlet last, and how does it end?

We know what a cycle of boom-and-bust looks like from the contested 2012 and 2016 GOP primaries: [Read more →]

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John Roberts’s disproportionate error

June 27th, 2019, 1:05pm by Sam Wang


Today, the Supreme Court ran away from the question of partisan gerrymandering. Chief Justice Roberts’s majority decision cited the problem of “proportional representation” as an impediment to establishing a standard of fairness. His argument has a major logical problem which is easily fixed – though at this point, it will have to be done in state courts. Here’s how. [Read more →]

→ 10 CommentsTags: Redistricting · Supreme Court

Coming soon to a powwow near you…

June 10th, 2019, 12:04pm by Sam Wang


This summer, I’ll be on a panel at Netroots Nation to talk about state-level strategies to achieve fair districting. It will be in Philadelphia from July 11-13. Our panel’s on the first day.

The other panelists are great. They include a member of the California redistricting commission, widely considered to be a bipartisan success. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project is similarly nonpartisan. We are open to a wide variety of audiences and allies, including Netroots Nation, a progressive gathering.

→ 1 CommentTags: Redistricting

Partisan primaries as gatekeepers

May 21st, 2019, 7:06am by Sam Wang


Partisan gerrymandering makes the primary the only election where there is real competition. In the New York Times, a former Senate candidate writes on how even this avenue can be manipulated to reduce competition by the political parties.

The author’s proposed solutions can conceivably help. A top-two primary system, as implemented in California, can increase competition. Elimination of partisan gerrymandering can reduce the number of safe seats somewhat, though his approach, a constitutional amendment, seems doomed to fail. Other approaches, such as state-by-state independent commissions, or H.R. 1, the For The People Act of 2019, have clearer routes to eventual passage.

Comments Off on Partisan primaries as gatekeepersTags: Redistricting

Mueller Report Book Club: Volume II, Obstruction of Justice, with Quinta Jurecic

May 17th, 2019, 11:39pm by Sam Wang


…and here’s our podcast on Volume II. Our guest is the incomparable Quinta Jurecic, of Lawfareblog.

Comments Off on Mueller Report Book Club: Volume II, Obstruction of Justice, with Quinta JurecicTags: 2016 Election · President · U.S. Institutions