(Woody Stroupe/Clark County Republican Party) – Redistricting is a consequence of the census. Every ten years, the boundaries of voting districts are redrawn. Voters are affected at the precinct level, which in turn, affects larger districts at the county, state, and federal levels.
For weeks now, the public has known about redistricting at the state and federal levels, and the Nevada Supreme Court will decide how the boundaries will be drawn for the next decade.
What the public may not know is that on the local level, boundaries also are being redrawn for the Clark County commission districts.
Several public workshops and meetings have been held on redistricting and new maps, Plan A and Plan B have been posted online. No decision has been made on which map will be selected, although another meeting will be held on July 19.
Dave Heller, a consultant who is in charge of drawing the maps, has indicated his primary duty is to prepare a map that will be passed by all 7 commissioners. Keeping in mind that all the commissioners are Democrats, it’s difficult to believe that politics is not entering into this process.
By focusing on population figures, the new maps must reflect changing demographics. According to Heller, Commission District D will reflect the 58% Hispanic majority, as per the Voting Rights Act. Commission District E maintains a 48% Hispanic population. Other minority populations, such as Black or African American, Asian, American Indian or Native Alaskan, and others (as indicated in the Data Tables online), did not reach the quotas necessary for a Minority/Majority district.
We did see that party affiliation played a role in redistricting:
Commission District A, which had previously held a Republican advantage, now holds a Democrat advantage. This was accomplished by removing from the district 25,424 Republican voters and only 17,047 Democrat voters
Commission District B still holds a Democrat advantage by 11,348 voters
Commission District C, another previously Republican district, is a Democrat majority by having removed 16,898 Republicans and only 10,335 Democrats from the district
Commission District D increased its Democrat advantage by over 6,800 voters
Commission District E decreased its Democrat advantage by some 1,200 voters
Commission District F decreased its Democrat advantage by 26,375 voters
Commission District G decreased its Democrat advantage by 22,416 voters.
Currently, there are about 245,000 registered Republicans and about 342,000 registered Democrats, giving the Democrats a 58-42 registration majority of voters who have registered for one of the two major parties. While 58-42 is a majority, the creation of a county commission district plan that has Democrat registration advantages in all seven commission districts is against basic concepts of representative government. While it is true that the majority party is likely to have a legislative majority as well, a districting plan drawn up to create Democrat advantages in every commission district clearly shows a desire to not even have a Republican with a seat.
Our system of government is built around the idea of representation. The current county commissioners have gone to great lengths to make sure that there are Democrat registration advantages in each district, meaning that their vision of good government is a County Commission that has no Republicans at all. In America, we’ve enacted minority voting rights legislation to try to make sure that ethnic minorities that are 15-20% of the overall population are able to elect someone from their community. The County Commission has gone to great lengths to convert a 58-42 registration edge to establish a system intended to produce no representation for a party that represents about one-third of all of Clark County’s 750,000 registered voters.
As long as this kind of partisan one-upmanship is allowed to continue, we will never reach the “one person, one vote” envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
(Woody Stroupe is Acting Chairman of the Clark County Republican Party.)