Posts Tagged ‘hispanic vote’

In Redistricting Battle, Political Parties Argue Over “Who Loves Hispanics More”

By Andrew Doughman | 7:00 pm May 11th, 2011

CARSON CITY — A Republican Hispanic governor will soon decide the fate of a Democratic redistricting plan that has both political parties embroiled in a debate over fairness to Nevada’s Hispanic population.

Legislative Republicans, who voted against the plan, and Democrats are each claiming they truly have the best interests of Nevada’s largest minority population in mind as they consider the boundaries of new political districts.

As political columnist Jon Ralston asked on Twitter: “who loves Hispanics more?”

But some people in the Hispanic community object to the odes both parties are singing about fair political representation for the Latino community.

Is the Hispanic community being used?

“It’s quite obvious,” said Fernando Romero, president of the nonpartisan Nevada group Hispanics in Politics.

He said he does not like the Republican plan for Congressional districts because it lumps all Hispanics together in one big group. But he also does not like the Democratic plan, which he said fractures key Latino communities into different districts.

“We are throwing the Democratic plan out of the window,” he said.

Romero said that he and other Hispanic advocacy groups will introduce their own plan for Congressional and state Senate and Assembly districts by the end of this week.

At stake is the power of a new voter bloc comprising 26 percent of Nevada’s population and one of every seven voters in Nevada, a number that could be higher if historically low levels of voter registration in the Hispanic community improve.

The Latino factor also makes Nevada a “key state” during the 2012 presidential elections.

“When you consider we’re about to enter a presidential election year, the Hispanic community is a community everybody is eyeing,” said Javier Trujillo of the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

Political parties could spend millions in attempts to sway Hispanic voters to the left or right, but every 10 years politicians are free — in fact, mandated — to choose the voters themselves. That is their business this year as the Nevada Legislature embarks on the decadal ritual of redrawing political boundaries in accordance with U.S. Census demographic data.

So far, both parties have accused each other of violating the federal Voting Rights Act, which addresses redistricting rules for ethnic minorities, in favor of partisan gain.

“They’ve clearly put their partisan interests ahead of what is morally right for the Hispanic community, and they’ve violated federal law in the process,” said Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas.

Democrats said nearly the same thing in a press release:

“Republicans opposed these maps on a party line vote while trying to mislead Nevadans on the purpose the Voting Right Act to mask their own partisan agenda.”

The Democratic plan passed out of the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday and now awaits Gov. Brian Sandoval’s signature or veto. It creates Congressional districts with Hispanic populations ranging between 20.5 and 33.6 percent of districts’ total populations.

A Republican proposal that did not receive a vote has Hispanics comprising between 14.4 percent and 50.7 percent of Congressional districts’ populations.

Republican Proposed Congressional Districts

District Population Deviation GOP% DEM% HVAP% BVAP% Total Hispanic%
CD 01 675,138 0 32.0% 45.5% 17.7% 9.9% 20.6%
CD 02 675,138 0 42.8% 35.7% 16.6% 1.9% 20.4%
CD 03 675,138 0 40.8% 37.5% 12.2% 5.5% 14.4%
CD 04 675,137 -1 20.8% 57.8% 44.3% 14.2% 50.7%

Democratic Proposed Congressional Districts

District Population Deviation GOP% DEM% HVAP% BVAP% Total Hispanic%
CD 01 675,138 0 31.9% 47.9% na na 33.6%
CD 02 675,138 0 42.8% 36.0% na na 20.5%
CD 03 675,138 0 34.4% 44.1% na na 29.2%
CD 04 675,137 -1 35.0% 43.1% na na 22.9%


Nevada’s explosive population growth between 2001 and 2010 earned Nevada one more congressional district, giving Nevada four seats.

UNR political scientist Eric Herzik said during an interview today that behind the squabbling about numbers lies the political reality of the Hispanic vote.

“The issue is not whether the districts are in compliance with federal law,” he said. “This is politics, partisan politics. …They’re both about trying to maximize party influence in districts.”

He said minority groups, including Latinos, tend to vote Democratic.

During the 2010 election, Hispanics overwhelming voted for Democratic candidate Rory Reid in the gubernatorial race and incumbent Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Senate race.

“If you diffuse the Latino vote, you can create more Democratic-leaning votes,” he said.

Likewise, he said the Republican proposal to create a district with more than 50 percent Hispanic population is a “shield” and the Republican party’s public concern is not the “root of their complaint” with the Democratic proposal.

“It works better for them if they can give up one overwhelmingly Democratic district,” Herzik said.

The historical data, however, only goes so far.

Romero contended that Latinos are independent-minded and value fair representation over agreement with Democrats.

“If we did follow party lines we would support the plan the Democrats issued,” Romero said. “We don’t.”

 

 

Democratic Redistricting Plans Pass Out of Senate And Assembly, Head To Governor

By Andrew Doughman | 3:54 pm May 10th, 2011

CARSON CITY — The political power game of drawing political boundaries escalated today as Nevada’s Democratic legislators passed their plans for new political districts.

Legislators will deliver the proposal for new Congressional and state Assembly and Senate districts to Gov. Brian Sandoval. The Republican governor has said before that he will veto any redistricting plan that he does not deem “fair.”

Republicans today contended that the Democratic plan was not fair.

“While the [population] numbers are equal [between districts], the numbers slanted toward the Democrats are somewhat unfair for the Republicans in the minority,” said Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Henderson, on the Assembly floor.

The governor has until Monday to veto the bill. If the Democratic-controlled Legislature and the Republican governor cannot reach a compromise, the drawing of political districts could end up in the hands of Nevada’s judges.

Although the budget overshadows the legislative session, redistricting offers politicians an opportunity to blend combinations of voters to their favor. Although ostensibly governed by equal populations between districts, redistricting is an inherently political process.

“Every 10 years we get to select the voters that will be voting for us and we have a special responsibility to be fair in this process,” said Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, on the floor of the Assembly.

The Senate vote for the Democratic proposal broke along party lines with an 11-10 vote. In the Assembly, all Republicans voted against the proposal, joined by Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Munford, who said he was unhappy with how his party redrew his Las Vegas district.

Both Democrats and Republicans have focused much of the debate about political districts on Nevada’s growing Hispanic community. Hispanics now comprise 26 percent of Nevada’s population and are a voter bloc that both parties cannot ignore.

One in seven eligible voters in Nevada are Latinos, the sixth-largest Hispanic eligible voter population share nationally, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

Democrats would like to establish “minority influence” districts where ethnic minority populations comprise an influential voting bloc in several districts.

Republicans argue that Nevada should have a majority-minority “opportunity” district because 26 percent of the state’s population is Hispanic and therefore one of the state’s four congressional districts should be majority Hispanic.

Sen. Joe Hardy, R-Boulder City, said the Democrat plan ignores the intent of the federal Voting Rights Act for congressional districts by failing to ensure fairness in representation for the Southern Nevada Hispanic community

The Republican plan created one of four congressional districts with 50.7 percent total Hispanic population. The Democrat plan creates no such district, which is in violation of the act, Hardy said.

“This plan actually creates four districts in which whites make up a significant majority,” he said. “Any plan that does not begin with an attempt to create a majority Hispanic district in Clark County fails to adhere to the letter and the spirit of the Voting Rights Act. It is something I personally cannot ignore in good conscience.”

On the Assembly floor, Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, asked whether this logic implied that only a Hispanic majority could elect a Hispanic candidate.

“Nevada has proven that Hispanic and other minority candidates can and have been elected in minority influence districts,” she said.

Sandoval, Nevada’s first Hispanic governor, was elected with a majority of the white vote while losing the Hispanic vote.

The Republicans are calling for eight Hispanic-majority seats in the Assembly, four in the Senate and one in Congress.

Democrats spread Hispanic voters throughout more districts, creating two Senate districts and three Assembly districts with a majority Hispanic population.

The Legislature is required to redraw the boundaries of political districts every 10 years based on changes in population released through the U.S. Census.

Nevada’s explosive population growth between 2001 and 2010 earned Nevada one more Congressional District, giving Nevada four Congressional Districts.

All districts must be nearly the same size. Map drawers use the U.S. Census total population figures for Nevada and divide those by the number of districts so that each district has an ideal size. The ideal size for a Congressional district is 675,000 people.

 

//Bureau Chief Sean Whaley contributed to this report.

Democrats Unveil Proposed Congressional District Maps

By Andrew Doughman | 1:39 pm May 5th, 2011

CARSON CITY — Democrats today unveiled proposed boundaries for Nevada’s four congressional districts, the political consequences of which they will debate this afternoon at the Legislature.

In the game of shifting political power, the Democrats say their congressional redistricting proposal creates three competitive districts with one northern and rural Nevada district leaning Republican.

Their plan could make Congressional District 3 less safe for Republican Representative Joe Heck, the current incumbent who won by a slim margin over Democratic candidate Dina Titus during 2010.

Democrats also say that their proposal is more fair to Nevada’s Hispanic population. The Democratic proposal offers Hispanics no majority-minority district in Clark County as was the case with a Republican congressional district proposal released last week. Rather, the Democratic maps show a Latino population dispersed throughout several Clark County districts.

Democrats released their congressional maps today, showing districts balanced by population, but with markedly different boundaries than earlier Republican proposals.

The question of the Latino vote has become a major fight between Republicans and Democrats.

Democrats would like to establish “minority influence” districts where ethnic minority populations comprise an influential voting bloc in several districts.

Republicans argue that Nevada should have a majority-minority “opportunity” district because 26 percent of the state’s population is Hispanic and therefore one of the state’s four congressional districts should be majority Hispanic.

Under the Republican proposal, Congressional District 4 would have a total 50.7 percent Hispanic population. In the Democratic plan, Congressional District 4 is 22.88 percent.

In Congressional District 3, Heck’s district, Republicans drew a 15 percent Hispanic district whereas Democrats created a district with a 30 percent Hispanic population.

Notable differences between the two proposals include the differences in Hispanic population and a 9.7 percent Democratic advantage in Heck’s district under the Democratic proposal.

Republicans drew Heck a district with a 3.3 percent Republican advantage for Heck.

In the new Congressional District 4, Republicans created a majority-minority Hispanic district with an overwhelming 37 percent Democratic voter registration advantage. Democrats would create a Congressional District 4 with a 22.9 percent Hispanic population with a Democratic voter registration margin of 8.1 percent.

Democrats also drew districts with a mind toward potential Democratic candidates in future elections. Current Assembly Speaker John Oceguera lives in the proposed Congressional District 3. Current Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford lives in the proposed Congressional District 1 and former Rep. Dina Titus is in the proposed Congressional District 4.

The Democratic plan represents the last piece of Republican and Democratic legislative district proposals. Democrats and Republicans released last week their proposals for state Assembly and Senate districts.

Republicans say their congressional district proposals offer two districts likely to elect Democrats and two districts likely to elect Republican candidates.

Republican Proposed Congressional Districts

District Population Deviation GOP% DEM% HVAP% BVAP% Total Hispanic%
CD 01 675,138 0 32.0% 45.5% 17.7% 9.9% 20.6%
CD 02 675,138 0 42.8% 35.7% 16.6% 1.9% 20.4%
CD 03 675,138 0 40.8% 37.5% 12.2% 5.5% 14.4%
CD 04 675,137 -1 20.8% 57.8% 44.3% 14.2% 50.7%

Democratic Proposed Congressional Districts

District Population Deviation GOP% DEM% HVAP% BVAP% Total Hispanic%
CD 01 675,138 0 31.9% 47.9% na na 33.6%
CD 02 675,138 0 42.8% 36.0% na na 20.5%
CD 03 675,138 0 34.4% 44.1% na na 29.2%
CD 04 675,137 -1 35.0% 43.1% na na 22.9%


The Republican and Democratic plans represent two different takes in what could be a lengthy process to hammer out a compromise between a Republican governor and a Democratic-controlled Legislature. If the two parties cannot reach a compromise, the drawing of political districts could end up in the hands of Nevada’s judges.

State legislative Republicans released this plan for Nevada's Congressional Districts.

Nevada’s state legislators must redraw political district boundaries every 10 years after the U.S. Census Bureau releases updated population and demographic statistics. Nevada’s explosive population growth between 2001 and 2010 earned Nevada one more Congressional District, giving Nevada four Congressional Districts.

All districts must be nearly the same size. Map drawers use the U.S. Census total population figures for Nevada and divide those by the number of districts so that each district has an ideal size. The ideal size for a Congressional district is 675,000 people.

CLARK COUNTY DETAIL (DEMOCRATIC PROPOSAL): HERE

CLARK COUNTY DETAIL (REPUBLICAN PROPOSAL): HERE