The Ohio Voter Purge versus North Carolina Gerrymandering

The Ohio Voter Purge versus North Carolina Gerrymandering

The Ohio Voter Purge was just (or unjustly) upheld by the US Supreme Court, by 5-4. It purged registered voters who had not shown up to the polls for three elections and who failed to respond to a warning postcard, sent out ONLY after the first missed election.

I, and all Democrats and minorities could imagine this being extended to all Republican dominated states, to lessen Democratic opposition. Yet this post was going to be a positive one for Democrats, since a study of North Carolina voting records showed that for the fourth election, only 14% of blacks voted, which would have been turned away, but 78% of whites voted, who would have been turned away.  This study by Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith appeared in the Washington Post on June 17, 2018.

So if Republican states read this study, they would not follow the Ohio Purge path, or they would unintentionally follow the path and harm themselves. It wouldn’t have been much of a harm, since only 3% were purgable, and 80% may have failed to respond, so only 2.4% of voters might be affected by this law.

However, the question that arose in my mind, was why only 14% of blacks who had not voted before, would be voting in a highly motivating Clinton versus Trump election. I decided to see if North Carolina was a severely gerrymandered state. BINGO! North Carolina has been ruled THE MOST GERRYMANDERED STATE!

Slowly sifting through websites, I found that NC had a Democratic Governor, two Republican Senators, arguing for a close split, but that it had three Democratic Representatives and TEN Republican Representatives. Case Closed.

The standard Republican gerrymander would be to throw all Democrats into a few districts, and leave the majority of districts with comfortable, but not extreme, Republican margins. Democrats make this easy by being largely in high density urban centers.

For hard evidence, we need look no further than the Trump versus Clinton vote result in the thirteen congressional districts. To start, Trump won NC and all of its fifteen electoral votes by a slim margin: 49.83% to 46.17%. That should indicate that without gerrymandering the NC representatives should have been distributed 7 to 6 Republican, since the 1/13 difference is 7.7%, twice as large as the 3.66% Presidential vote split.

There are indeed three districts with extremely large Clinton majorities, and Trump won the other 10. Here are the 3 Democratic district results:

District 1: Trump 30%, Clinton 67%.
District 4: Trump 27%, Clinton 68%
District 12: Trump 28%, Clinton 68%.

Clearly gerrymandered at a 2 to 1 or more ratio. Now let’s look at the Republican districts:

District 2: Trump 54%, Clinton 42%.
District 3: Trump 60%, Clinton 36%.
District 5: Trump 57%, Clinton 39%.
District 6: Trump 56%, Clinton 41%.
District 7: Trump 57%, Clinton 39%.
District 8: Trump 56%, Clinton 41%.
District 9: Trump 54%, Clinton 42%.
District 10: Trump 60%, Clinton 36%.
District 11: Trump 62%, Clinton 33%.
District 13: Trump 53%, Clinton 44%.

While the Democratic districts were all crowded with Democratic at 67% and 68%, the highest crammed Republican districts were one at 62%, and two at 60%. There was one Republican district as low as 53%, and two at 54%.

Even if NC did not have a winner take all electoral vote system, but a district one, Dems would have only gotten three electoral votes, and Reps would have gotten the 10 districts plus the two senate electoral votes, for 12 electoral votes. If the US voted countrywide by popular vote, Greetings President Clinton, by three million votes.

If you were a Democrat in the state of North Carolina, as far as the Presidency was concerned, it would have mattered if you voted, since the state had a slate of electors for each party, and the slate chosen was by the statewide popular vote. Yet the polls should have shown a clear Republican win beforehand.

If you were a Democrat in the state of North Carolina in the extremely crammed three Democratic districts, it would not have mattered as far as your district’s Representative’s race, as it would have ended Democratic.

If you were a Democrat in the 10 majority Republican districts, it may have mattered only in three of them, as far as your voting.

So, depressing note as far as Republican, or also Democratic, gerrymandering. But as far as the Ohio Voter Purge movement goes, still great if Republicans pursue it in states where they already have a super majority.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2016 Election, Clinton, Donald Trump, Equal Treatment Under the Law, Ohio Voter Purge, Supreme Court, Trump Voting. Bookmark the permalink.

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