Prison Gerrymandering: Putting the Con in Constituent

Click to watch: US Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson testifies before  the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Fred Grimm of the Miami Herald wrote an article titled Putting the Con in Constituent, discussing prison gerrymandering:

There’s nothing a state rep loves more than a captive audience. Except for a captive constituency.

North Florida pols have packed their state House districts with a particularly low-maintenance category of citizens. The kind who don’t show up at townhall meetings clamoring about too much traffic or lousy parks or crumbling bridges or under-funded schools or the need for more cops on the beat. They never, ever complain about too few cops.

Best of all they don’t go around town grumbling that folks should vote for that other candidate. They can’t. They can’t vote. They’re state prisoners.

Read the full article here.

GOP Florida House Speaker Blasts Plan To Rig Electoral College

— by Scott Keys, Think Progress

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford (R) poured cold water on a Republican plan to rig the Electoral College that is being considered in a number of states to all but ensure that the next president will be a Republican.

A number of states that have voted consistently for Democrats at a national level but are currently controlled by Republicans at a state level, such as Virginia and Pennsylvania, are considering a change to the way they dole out presidential electoral votes. Currently, every state but two small states uses a winner-take-all system, but a handful of Republican-controlled blue states are looking at a system of doling out electoral votes by congressional district, based on maps gerrymandered to the GOP’s favor.

More after the jump.
One possible state where this could happen is Florida, which has voted Democratic the last two presidential elections but is currently run by Republicans. However, Weatherford announced on Thursday that he opposed such a move. The Miami Herald has more:

Florida, the largest swing state, won’t go along with changing the Electoral College if Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has any say (and he has a major say).

“To me, that’s like saying in a football game, ‘We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and the beat us in the fourth,” Weatherford, a Republican, told the Herald/Times. “I don’t think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better.”

Fellow Republican leader, Senate President Don Gaetz, wasn’t favorable to the plan either. He said he would prefer a more progressive proposal: abolishing the Electoral College and replacing it with a national popular vote. Said Gaetz, “The farmer standing in his field in North Dakota should be just as important as the factory worker in Ohio.”