Monday, December 20, 2010

How Many Representatives Do I Have Today?

On Tuesday December 21, 2010 the U.S. Census Bureau will announce which states will gain and loose seats in the House of Representatives.

This is “Super Tuesday” for anyone interested in how many representatives they have in their state. The national redistricting season is upon us.

U.S. Census population information determines the size, shape and number of districts in a state. In some cases, legislators can basically be drawn right out of their districts. For instance, depending on the shape a size of a district, a reliably Republican district can be split apart and turned into two Democratic districts. Depending on which states, and specifically which districts gain or loose seats, it could shift the partisan balance of power

Will Democrats be able to draw themselves back into power? Probably not. The data will likely help the Republicans. If the map looks the way it does now, Democrats will have to pick up 25 seats in 2012 to re-take the house. But under a new map, that number could be more like 35.

Who draws the lines? In some states the legislatures draw their own district lines, in others, like California, an independent redistricting commission draws the lines

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