31 July 2003

more fleeing legislators!
Just in case you'd missed the story that the Texas legislature is again debating a redistribution and that Texas legislators (democrat senators this time) have again fled the state, here's the latest from Talking Points:
In any case, without the ability to use the state police, Republican state officials are now considering sending bounty-hunters across state lines to bring them back -- an idea you can certainly understand since bounty-hunters are such an upstanding and constitutionally-minded group of characters. Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) has helpfully obliged by issuing an opinion okaying the bounty hunter idea.

Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, has provided the Dems with a state police detail to protect them and, reportedly, has vowed to press kidnapping charges against any bounty hunters who try to take them into custody.

One issue that's exciting opinion in the US is the legitimacy or otherwise of redistributing more frequently than after each decennial census. The electoral map the Republicans are promoting seems partisan and unfair, but I think the underlying problem is worse. Australia redistributes federal seats whenever:

the number of parliamentary representatives to which a State or Territory is entitled has changed (see population quota);

the number of electors in more than one third of the divisions in a State or one of the divisions in the ACT deviates from the average divisional enrolment by over 10% in three consecutive months; or

a period of 7 years has elapsed since the previous redistribution.

Note that redistributions happen when the number of voters changes, not at artifially-fixed intervals. Note also the process is controlled by an independent, neutral and professional electoral commission. The US adopted the Australian ballot from us. Adopting the Australian redistribution might be a good idea as well.

No comments: