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On Michigan Radio

February 11th, 2019, 10:04pm by Sam Wang

Today I spoke with Cynthia Canty of Michigan Radio about the road ahead for the Michigan redistricting commission. Great conversation – take a listen!

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A Commissioner’s Guide to Redistricting in Michigan

February 4th, 2019, 12:00pm by Sam Wang

Today we’re releasing a detailed report on Michigan’s new Independent Citizens’ Redistricting Commission!

In November, Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to their state constitution to remove the power of the state legislature to draw legislative and Congressional district boundaries. The vote was a victory for those seeking to end gerrymandering, but it’s the only the beginning of a process.

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project has been helping master’s of public policy students at the Woodrow Wilson School to prepare a report highlighting best practices in forming the commission and in executing its constitutional duties. The report is titled A Commissioner’s Guide to Redistricting in Michigan. You can read it here, or download a PDF.

Among our major findings: [

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A Redistricting “Reform” Bill in Virginia Would Entrench Politicians Further

February 3rd, 2019, 2:20am by Sam Wang

No matter who is governor of Virginia by next week, Republicans have a problem: in 2021, Democrats may control redistricting. In response, Republicans have introduced ostensibly nonpartisan reform. Their “reform” is a hedge – one that weakens the ability of voters to remove legislators from office.

The Virginia redistricting bill HJ615 removes oversight by the governor, removes oversight by one chamber of the General Assembly over the other, and prevents a minority party from speaking for itself.

But why are Virginia legislators proposing any legislation at all? Because of an imminent threat to their power. [Read more →]

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The Electoral College: Origins, Consequences, and Flaws

January 27th, 2019, 11:14pm by Sam Wang

I have some thoughts on the Electoral College. I hope you don’t mind the Twitter format!

You can also see a single-page version here thanks to ThreadReaderApp.

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Politics & Polls: talk back to Julian and Sam

January 22nd, 2019, 4:19pm by Sam Wang

In our Politics & Polls podcast, Julian Zelizer and I talk to our guests, and sometimes to each other. This week we want to hear from you.

Do you have questions? Ideas that interest you? Email them to Do it now!

(For regular commenters: you can use the comment thread here too.)

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Correcting the Economist: Partisan gerrymandering, still going strong

January 21st, 2019, 9:44pm by Sam Wang

The Economist ran a Graphic (January 5th) purporting to show that in the 2018 election, partisan gerrymandering was overcome by a wave of opinion. However, this is simply not true.

In the November Congressional election, Democrats took over the House despite about a dozen seats being safely Republican by nefarious means. I wrote them a letter explaining their error – which they printed in their January 19th issue. Go read it!

For those without access, the full text comes after the jump. Also, a scan is here.

Thanks to The Economist and G. Elliott Morris for giving us a hearing!

Postscript: G. Elliott Morris points out that their headline gave a wrong impression. Headline writers have the power to simplify – and to oversimplify. [Read more →]

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Fault Lines: an interview with Julian Zelizer and Kevin Kruse on their new book

January 10th, 2019, 7:44pm by Sam Wang

I got to discuss America’s political divide with my colleague Kevin Kruse, as well as his co-author – and my co-host Julian Zelizer. Julian and Kevin are co-authors of a new book on contemporary American history released this week, “Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974.”

This was a good one – listen!

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Say “hasta la vista, baby” to gerrymandering

January 10th, 2019, 8:45am by Sam Wang

In Los Angeles, the Schwarzenegger Institute for Public Policy is hosting the Terminate Gerrymandering Summit. This is its actual name! A launch for their new project, the Fair Maps Incubator. It’s focused on redistricting commissions. and it will be livestreamed!

There are some great speakers and panels (schedule here). To name a few: Arnold Schwarzenegger of course, Katie Fahey (Voters Not Politicians), Stephen Wolf (Daily Kos Elections), Christian Grose (USC), Nick Stephanopoulos (Campaign Legal Center), Kathay Feng (Common Cause)…watch if you can today at 10 AM-noon Pacific (1-3 PM Eastern).

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Coalition for smarter redistricting in New Jersey

January 7th, 2019, 9:47pm by Sam Wang

I’m pleased to announce that the Princeton Gerrymandering Project is joining a working group to evaluate and make recommendations for New Jersey’s legislative redistricting process. Our press release is here.

Our working group follows on an unpopular proposal that would have changed the composition of the reapportionment commission and inserted a formula for compliance. PGP found that this formula would not stop partisan offenses – and even left a fairly prominent loophole.

The new working group, coordinated by Patrick Murray at Monmouth University, will write a report that will provide guiding principles for the next redistricting round in 2021. We’ll also host a series of public forums in collaboration with the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. One forum will take place here at Princeton!

  • Ronald Chen, Rutgers University law professor and the former New Jersey Public Advocate.
  • Brigid Callahan Harrison, professor of political science and law, Montclair State University.
  • Patrick Murray, director, Monmouth University Polling Institute.
  • Yurij Rudensky, redistricting counsel, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.
  • Samuel Wang, neuroscience professor and director of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, Princeton University.Ben Williams, legal analyst and project coordinator, Princeton Gerrymandering Project, Princeton University.
  • Ben Williams, Legal Analyst and Project Coordinator, Princeton Gerrymandering Project, Princeton University.

Wish us luck – and come to a public forum. We’ll announce them soon!

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Possible fixes to the N.J. redistricting amendment

December 16th, 2018, 10:24pm by Sam Wang

The redistricting amendment was withdrawn on Saturday. No vote Monday!

Leadership took a beating. Some of this beating was unfair, administered by reporters who see everything in terms of national partisan warfare. The true battle was between the Legislature and Governor Murphy. But the legislation also had defects. Now there’s breathing room to fix it.

To fix the amendment, we have a few ideas. Some were described in our December 5th analysis. Here’s an updated list: [Read more →]

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