Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

AP analysis finds partisan map-making advantage in Ohio

AP analysis finds partisan map-making advantage in Ohio

In Georgia, just 31 of the 180 state House districts featured both Republican and Democratic candidates, a nation-high uncontested rate of 83 percent.

The analysis examined the share of votes cast for Republican and Democratic candidates in each district and projected the expected number of seats each party would gain if districts were drawn so that neither party had an overall advantage.

The GOP ultimately fell short of winning enough seats to finally control the House, which Democrats now govern with a slim 79-72 majority.

An Associated Press analysis shows that congressional districts drawn by Texas' Republican-controlled Legislature helped the party gain almost four extra U.S. House seats during last fall's election - the most in the nation. Voters again re-elected 13 Republicans to the U.S. House in the 2014 and 2016 elections.

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The analysis is based on an "efficiency gap" formula developed by University of Chicago law professor Nick Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, a researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

"Partisan bias is distorting the composition of the U.S. House, and a handful of states are principally responsible for driving it", the Brennan Center found.

Of those in other states, 998 Democrats and 963 Republicans won without any opposition from the other major political party. Following every decade census legislative districts are redrawn in each state, with the party in power usually redrawing those lines in its own favor.

The analysis found that Virginia was among those states with Republican-skewed state House districts as well as congressional districts. Their mathematical model was cited last fall as "corroborative evidence" by a federal appeals court panel that struck down Wisconsin's state Assembly districts as an intentional partisan gerrymander. Schale said Republicans drew maps with highly concentrated Democratic districts so that they could create more Republican-strong districts that weren't as concentrated. Some of the proposed shifts sought to move heavily black precincts - where voters overwhelmingly support Democrats - from Republican-held districts into ones occupied by Democrats.

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Had AP analyzed the Republican-controlled 2015 Nevada Legislature, Sheets said, "my guess is they'd come up with an entirely different answer, and that's the problem with formulas".

Although most of Missouri's unopposed candidates were incumbents, some newcomers seeking open seats also cruised to victory without major-party opponents.

In Texas, Republicans gained almost four excess congressional seats compared to projections from a typical votes-to-seats ratio, according to the AP's analysis.

For Democrats to complain of gerrymandering is "pure nonsense", said Matt Walter, the Republican committee's president.

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An independent commission could liberate lawmakers to spend more time on other issues and remove any impression of conflict of interest, Barbuto said.

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