Letters 6 – 10 – 2011

Single member districts good for house AND the senate  

I must believe that apportionment follows with the senate as well as the House.

My main concern is that Chittenden Counties 6 member “at large” single district be broken up, perhaps the ideal would be six single Senator districts, but I would not object to three 2-member districts. Without the population facts before me, maybe the inquiry could start with Burlington + Winnoski, Then Essex – both and Westford. Then a grab bag of Jericho, Underhill, Richmond, Bolton Huntington (representing a school district)

It’s complicated, but Chittenden County being a monolith with all 6 Senator on the far liberal side, from and controlled by Greater Burlington, is not fair to the rest of the state, or to the outlying areas of Chit County. The Colchester / and all Grand Isle is a weird mix.

Doug Richmond

 

 

Six-member district an aberration

I’m writing to report an astonishing fact that most Vermonters seem not to be aware of – and as of this writing has not been reported in the papers.

Chittenden County’s six-member senatorial district is unique. There is no other like it in the United States. According to “Redistricting Laws 2000,” published by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only three other states even have multi-member senatorial districts, and none of those districts has more than two members.

Multi-member districts were more common historically, but have been struck down by the courts time and again. Many cases were based on racial discrimination. Minority groups were effectively disenfranchised when a district with a large minority population was lumped together with others that had few minorities.

In other cases, multi-member districts were found to be an insidious form of gerrymandering. Lumping together multiple districts to create a partisan majority effectively disenfranchised the minority party. Arguably, this is the case in Chittenden County where the Progressive majority in Burlington has never been able to elect a senator, while five of the six elected senators are Democrats and three are from just one town (Senators Condos, Leddy and Munt are registered to vote in South Burlington).

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Pascoe

 

 

 

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