AP analysis indicates Idaho district lines favor Republicans

Angie Massey
June 26, 2017

The AP analysis also found that Republicans won as many as 22 additional U.S. House seats over what would have been expected based on the average vote share in congressional districts across the country. They said factors other than gerrymandering could have contributed, including shifting political attitudes.

Gerrymandering - the dark art of shaping legislative districts to give one party an electoral edge-gave Republicans an outsized advantage in races for the U.S. House and state legislatures in 2016, according to an analysis by the Associated Press published Sunday. The Republican tilt last fall was close to the median amount among all states analyzed.

The formula compares the statewide average share of the vote that a party receives with the statewide percentage of seats the party won, taking into account that in politics, each percentage point share of statewide votes generally accounts for a 2 percentage point increase in seat share.

Under the 2011 map, Republicans now fill 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 seats in the U.S. House - or 72 percent - despite winning 54 percent of the statewide congressional vote in 2016.

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear that case, which could affect voting across the nation. Republicans helped gain dominance in Florida by controlling that process in 2002.

The Wyoming Democratic Party, meanwhile, is more organized than ever before and doing a better job getting its message across to voters, Democratic Chairman Joe Barbuto said.

"The model may say one thing but the truth is Republicans hold 17 House seats won by Hillary Clinton in 2016".

"Republicans really put their foot on the gas when Bush got elected", said Steve Schale, a Democratic political consultant.

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In 2011, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed two redistricting plans that the Democratic-controlled Legislature sent him.

Newly elected Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Ryan Mulholland of Sheridan credited his party's values for the GOP's overwhelming dominance. The Michigan House redistricting effort was led by then-state Rep. Pete Lund, who denied gerrymandering districts to favor Republicans.

"It's become a little bit of a hard sell with our larger majority because we have a lot of people who have not served in the minority", Torr said. "You knew that the district had to be as compact as possible, contiguous". Instead, he said a proposed independent commission should work to keep "communities of interest" together. The formula focuses on "wasted votes" - those cast for losing candidates, and for winners beyond the needed majority - to determine which party is more efficient at translating votes into victories.

The 2010 "fair districts" constitutional amendment was aimed at preventing that practice.

Nevada and Colorado were the only two presidential "swing states" among just eight state legislatures determined to favor Democrats in 2016.

Several Democratic Georgia lawmakers teamed up with Republican state Sen. They moved Democratic-performing areas into districts that were safe for Republican or Democratic candidates.

Likewise, he said state Senate maps are drawn fairly, but Democrats underperform in districts they should win. The same has been true for voters in part of Kansas City, where their lone option has been a Democrat. He said the party has no discipline and doesn't recruit candidates as aggressively as it should.

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