Allegheny tops Cook County
I have brought up in the past the lack of interest the powers that be have in reform of voting districts in Allegheny County. Do we really need 1,322 different voting districts in the county? When you count up the poll workers needed at each including election judges, clerks, etc and doubled for both majority and minority parties you wind up with a veritable army of folks needed each election day. Some districts typically have only a handful of voters show up, while others have thousands. The inefficiency that gets me is that it is not a geography driven thing any longer. I once voted at a location which had 4 different polls located in the same room. That makes sense how? We redistrict and muck with the boundary of every other legislative district in the nation every decade, but there is virtually no change in Allegheny county voting districts going back decades.
Anyway, I was wondering if given our large number of districts does Allegheny County have the smallest average voting district size? At least among urban counties since there are a lot of really small counties out there. The answer is no actually. I have obsessed on the benchmarking and calculated the number of voting districts in every county in the nation and matched it to county populations in 2010. So we just take an abitrary cutoff of counties with greater than 500,000 folks in 2010 what does that look like? I count 127 such counties large enough and I put that full list into Google Docs.
When ranked according to which of the 127 counties have the smallest average populations per district I get this. Allegheny County is actually ranked #7, so 6 counties have smaller average voting district populations, but 120 have larger average districts. I am not sure the average is the issue actually since in Allegheny County the difference in sizes across districts is huge. I once found a voting district with a single vote cast in an election. I still wonder a bit how that is possible. Does that mean the actual poll workers at that voting location were not residents of that particular district? Or they just didn't bother to vote while they were there all day? Has there ever been a voting district with no recorded vote in a called election?
Anyway, here is my calculation of the the top 15 list of counties in the US with the smallest voting district size in population. Remember that total population is a lot larger than the actual ballots ever cast. Some are too young, some unregistered, some just don't participate. In the end... Go St. Louis!
Smallest Average Voting District Population by County (2010)
Counties > 500,000 in 2010
|County||State||Voting Districts (2010)||Population (2010)||Population/district|
|St. Louis County||Missouri||1,583||998,954||631.1|
|Monroe County||New York||793||744,344||938.6|
|Westchester County||New York||881||949,113||1,077.3|