Nevada schedules special session to redraw political maps
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2021 | 4:22 p.m.
Updated 6 hours ago
CARSON CITY, Nevada (AP) – Lawmakers in Nevada will meet on Friday for a special session to redesign congressional and state legislative constituencies based on movement and population growth, Governor Steve Sisolak announced Thursday.
Decisions by the Democratic-controlled legislature – especially on the lines defining two congressional districts of the battlefield – will be closely watched as the two parties vie for control of the US House of Representatives. The maps that legislative leaders released on Tuesday will likely form the basis for discussions throughout the special session.
Here’s what you need to know about the Decade Redistribution and Redistribution process:
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES ?
In a state where Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden both narrowly won, Democrats have, since 2016, won three of four seats in Congress and strong majorities in the state. An Associated Press analysis in 2017 showed that Nevada’s assembly districts favored Democrats in 2016 more than the lower house of any state in the country.
The gap between tight presidential races and convincing majorities within the state stems from the drawing of the map and how people travel over the course of a decade. Democratic-leaning districts – although of relatively equal population size – tend to have fewer eligible voters and lower turnout than Republican-leaning districts.
Many states design constituencies to divide and combine voters to increase the chances of victory for party candidates. These efforts can tip the scales when it comes to which party controls Congress and determine the makeup of state houses, where decisions are made about charter schools, guns, and how to get away from them. fossil fuels.
Republicans, who have already started criticizing the proposed maps, fear Democrats’ control over state government will allow manipulation and help them maintain power over the next decade.
HOW HAS THE POPULATION OF NEVADA CHANGED?
Nevada is one of a group of western states that have grown more populous and diverse over the past decade. The redistribution and redistribution will need to take into account 404,000 more state residents than ten years ago, who have moved to specific areas of Las Vegas in particular.
The Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise metro area has grown faster than the Reno metro area. In Nevada, 4 in 10 people now identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the US Census Bureau.
WHO DRAWS THE CARDS?
Nevada law directs the legislature to design the districts of the state and Congress. The cards are then sent to the governor for approval. Democrats control the government, the Senate, and the State Assembly. Academics have said that single-party control is the most important predictor of whether a state is drawing a fair game, and just like Republicans in Texas or Democrats in Illinois, Democrats in Nevada will be subject to scrutiny for their decisions.
On Tuesday, the Legislature released preliminary maps that will serve as a basis for discussions. Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro praised the proposed cards in a joint statement.
“Reflecting Nevada’s growing racial and ethnic diversity, these maps strive to both protect and expand the voting power of African American and Hispanic Nevadans while increasing representation opportunities for the emerging and growing AAPI population. of Nevada over the next decade, ”they said, referring to the Asian and Pacific Islander American community in southwest Las Vegas.
Lawmakers have not always been successful in enforcing their cards. Ten years ago, then-governor. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, vetoed Democrats’ cards and three non-partisan court-appointed “special masters” ultimately redesigned the districts.
Nevada is not one of the 10 states in which independent commissions redistribute. Supporters of creating an independent commission in Nevada have failed to collect the signatures needed to pose a ballot question to voters in 2020.
The United States does a national count every 10 years, counting everyone – voters and non-voters, citizens and non-citizens, children and military personnel abroad. Nevada typically performs the redistribution during legislative sessions scheduled every two years. But the pandemic has delayed the schedule, and the US Census Bureau did not send updated figures until after the legislature was adjourned in June.
The delayed delivery of the data and the months between when Nevada received it and its special session could disrupt the campaigns of congressional and state candidates who plan to run in 2022. State lawmakers are required to live in their districts. Members of Congress are not.
WHAT SIZES AND SHAPES WILL LEGISLATORS CONSIDER?
Constituencies must have the same population size to preserve the “one person, one vote” principle. Some states prioritize drawing compact districts, while others draw them in scribble or starfish shapes to evenly distribute the population.
Nevada’s mix of dense towns and vast pastures leads to districts of varying sizes. There may be minor discrepancies in terms of population, and the courts have allowed state legislative districts to vary by up to 5%. The current maps contained up to 1.3% variation in the Statehouse District population when drawn and varied by one person from the ideal population size. They tended to follow county boundaries. In the state house, the special masters appointed by the court have “nested” two districts of the Assembly in each district of the Senate.
Nevada was given four seats in Congress in the census, but state law does not require the legislature to maintain the state’s legislative seat count at 63.
Metz is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative body. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.