This is part 1 of a little series I'm working on. The goal is to create the largest possible non-completely crazy-looking Voting Rights Act district in each state.
A Voting Rights Act-district is defined as a legislative district in which one minority group makes up more than half of the adult population.
Currently, Alabama has 7 Congressional districts, one of them majority-minority-- the 7th district. But that one has a lot of room to grow at 62% black, so that's exactly what I'm gonna let it do.
Our new Alabama district has just four districts. The VRA-district is the Green one at 51.9% Black VAP. The other three districts are, obviously, completely hopeless for Democrats, even for such conservative ones as Bobby Bright. But hey, a delegation of three Republicans and one Democrat is better than one of five Republicans, one Bobby Bright and one Democrat, no?
All districts within +-50 of the ideal population.
Arizona has 8 Congressional districts, gaining one after the next elections. One of them is a Hispanic VRA district.
Of Arizona's districts, two are held by Democrats and six by Republicans. The new breakdown after the redistricting is finished is likely to be either 7-2 or 6-3 Republican.
This map condenses Arizona into three Congressional districts, one of them -the violet one- is Hispanic VRA at 51.5%. Politically this district would be Democratic, while the other two districts would be out of reach for any Democrat.
Granted, not very compact, but it's needed to combine Tuscon's and Maricopa's Hispanic Communities with the Hispanics in the southern part of the state. It's just amazing how Maricopa gets one of three districts entirely, makes up more than half of the violet VRA seat and still has territory left to be soaked up by the Green seat.
Arkansas' African-American population is so awkwardly distributed that you have to choose between creating REALLY ugly lines and creating districts that aren't as effective as they could be. While an African-American VRA district could likely be drawn in five districts, that's too ugly for my taste. Here is Arkansas in six districts, with the VRA district in Yellow at 50.1%.
I'm pretty sure that other than this district no district is in reach for Democrats, even Democrats called Mike Ross.
--- at this point I'm skipping California for now, both because it deserves its own post and because I find the giant voting districts frustrating to work with. ---
To be honest, I thought this state was much more Hispanic than it actually is. If you'd have forced me at gunpoint to make a guess I'd have said it's about 30% Hispanic-- but the VAP is only 15% Hispanic. The population in Denver is too small for any kind of real VRA district, so I have to abandon any pretense of Communities of Interest or Compactness and connect every major Hispanic community in the state via empty rural areas.
This is Colorado in 8 districts, one more than its current seven districts.
The blue first district has 51% Hispanic VAP and is as such a VRA district. The other seven districts are all less than 15% Hispanic.
Here is a close-up of the Denver area.
Now for a truly interesting state: Connecticut.
It's symptomatic for a problem that Hispanics have in gaining Congressional representation. There are about 50% more Hispanics than African-Americans in the state. Still, the largest African-American VRA district that can be drawn has a population that's about 25% higher than that of the largest Hispanic VRA district. This is because Hispanics are distributed over the whole country, so that many Congressional districts have a Hispanic population of 5-15%, while that isn't true for African-Americans.
Here's the Hispanic map, in 38 districts:
The Hispanic VRA seat is the blue one in Hartford.
And here's the African-American map, in 32 districts:
Once again, the VRA seat is the blue one in Hartford, though in a different area of Hartford (there's overlap though).
Considering that the CT State Senate has 36 districts, there could be an interesting VRA question soon: The language of the VRA says that a VRA district has to be drawn if possible in a compact manner. But in 2020 there could be the interesting situation that there can be both a compact African-American and a compact Hispanic VRA seat in Hartford, but not both at the same time. Which one gets the priority?
Now for the last state in this installment, Delaware.
Delaware has significant African-American populations both in Wilmington and Dover, but they're too far away from each other to be connected. Thus, a VRA seat in Wilmington is the best we can do here.
Here is, then, Delaware in seven districts.
The Yellow Wilmington district is the VRA one at 51.5% African-American VAP.
Note that both the Teal and the Orange seats could potentially elect African-Americans too, as the Orange seat contains Dover's African-American population and is 25.7% Black VAP, while the teal seat contains some suburban African-American communities in the suburbs of Wilmington and is 22% Black VAP.
I hope you found this at least somewhat interesting and will tune in for the next installment of this series.