Monday, February 22, 2010

Deconstructing the ACDC part I

If you didn't catch it, over in the City Paper I put up some maps of how the elections for the Allegheny County Democratic committee went 4 years ago in city districts.  The maps are online via the City Paper here, but you can still get the dead tree version until the next edition comes out on Wednesday. Go check it out if you have any thought at all of running for county committeeperson.

The maps were just for the city districts and if I get a chance I will do something similar fo rthe rest of the county. The thing is that as uncontested the city races were, many of the county races frew less interest.  So if you wanted an easy path to becoming a micro-player in the policial scene and you live in one of the suburbs you may a pretty simple path depending on where you live.

If you really do think about running, you probably need to figure out what voting district you live in.  The county's polling place locator is a good place to start with that.  To figure out the scope of your district though I have KML files online which overlay in Google maps to help that.  Try these links for either the City of Pittsburgh proper or the remainder of the county.  You can zoom in interactively on these.  These are from years ago and I'm sure someone has something more sophisticated at this point to do the same, but I have not looked very hard to find it.  Similar maps for some of the nearby counties are on my map page

Something to think about.  There are over 400 individual voting districts in the city, but over 1,200 in the county.  Does that really make sense?  County has made several attempts to cconsolidate the sheer number of districts over the decade, but have typically been thwarted in implementing any meaningful change.  You really have to wonder how long they can keep supporting so many districts, each of which needs pairs of election judges and a number of volunteers in addition.  My personal observation is that the average poll worker is well up in age and older than the average county voter which is pretty old to begin with.  At some point in the future you have to wonder if they can continue to man so many machines at the same time. 

It goes beyond sheer cost-efficiency.  Except for the US Senate, there are strong legal requirements that force district size to represent all cizents equally.  One person, one vote.  The disproportionality of voting in the senate is a debate unto itself, but from congress to almost any local legislative race comparative districts must be of equal size to the maximum degree possible.  It sure does not work for any election by voting district.   Last fall in the general election McKeesport Ward 1 had one vote cast.  Moon Dist 2 had 591.  and that was the general election.


Anonymous MH said...

Except that intra-party voting doesn't have to follow the "one person, one vote" thing, does it? And if there were not so many small voting districts of varying size, they'd might have to redraw the voting districts whenever they needed to equalize a ward or a state house district or something. (Not that it wouldn't be a good idea to do something once the districts got down to having so few voters you could use your fingers to tabulate.)

Monday, February 22, 2010 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you provide a larger version of your city committee maps? The CP ones are really hard to read. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 9:37:00 AM  
Anonymous DH said...

HAYSVILLE (270) has 60 REGISTERED VOTERS and in the last election 17 of them voted.

And my personal favorite...

MCKEESPORT WARD 1 (336) has 15 REGISTERED VOTERS and in the last election 1 of them voted.

On a side note that person voted straight ticket which had some interesting results... really makes you wonder if voting straight tickit is a good thing....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 10:51:00 AM  

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