tv Washington Journal Ben Williams CSPAN October 15, 2021 11:39am-12:00pm EDT
>> shop.org is c-span's store. browser latest collection of c-span products, apparel, books, home to core, and accessories. there's something varies -- for every c-span fan. c-span shop.org. >> a congregate for station with ben williams, the person for executive questions. ben williams explains to her viewers what it is, and what role we are hoping it plays when it comes to the redistricting process. the end dsl is the leading organization with the bipartisan
structure, serving the needs of legislative staff. 20 thousand legislative staff. our information we provide is nonpartisan. we do not pay. we provide information so that they can take that information and create the best policies for their state. >> what should viewers know about how they go about redistricting? how many ways are there? >> we like to say that there are 50 ways to do redistricting. a couple things that they look at. is it the legislatures? one of the rules at the legislature has to follow that are specific to
their state? they might be called principles in any particular state. are there any particular processes like the amount of time that it needs to be pending before it can be voted on? are there rules around public input? when you take into account all of those things, you get a wonderful mosaic of policymaking. >> what determines whether they come up with them in the state legislatures? >> we served legislatures and we believe in the traditional institutions. there are plenty of things that have chosen to move to a commission based process. in those states, we consider any institution that does not redistrict to be a commission. three executive branch officials to -- it is a
14 member commission that has a rigorous selection process for the members to try to filter out partisanship. it is a broad-spectrum, but if you look at the history of how they perform in court, the maps drawn are upheld by courts. >> what is the timeframe that states are working under? how has this been impacted by the pandemic? >> all of redistricting deadlines are sent to -- centered around april 1, 2021. that is the date that the census
bureau, according to federal law, is supposed to deliver the granular data from the census. they would count happy people are living in a particular household. they use that to redraw districts to comply. that was supposed to come on april 1. because of delays because of the pandemic and natural disasters and fires in the west, the information was delivered mid august. that has led to many going to court and asking for an extension on deadlines. or it has led to states creating special sessions to redistrict earlier than they otherwise would. >> just a reminder of what the census dale told us this year.
the apportionment gains with texas picking up two seats in this round of redistricting. in terms of the states that law states, california, illinois, michigan, west virginia -- all states that lost a seat in the latest we apportionment. an effort to create new maps in states across the country. then williams is joining us to talk about it. we are taking your phone calls for this last half-hour of washington journal. republicans, the number -- then williams, what is the biggest problem that -- been -- ben
williams, what is the biggest problem? >> the timeline is one of the biggest issues. there is a more public awareness than there has been in the past. the public wants to be engaged. we are trying to figure out how to take all that input. whether it be a hearing or something set up by the legislature, archive and consolidate it in a systemic way , rather than looking at 10,000 pieces of input and not being able to paint a picture of what is being told. >> what is your advice, coming up against that time crunch? especially when courts play a role. we are looking at stories
like this. the redistricting plan. that is also going to affect the timeline, coming up on a ticking clock. >> they are doing their best to complete redistricting on time. it is -- there will be a lot of cases filed. there have been over 25 cases filed this year for redistricting. the numbers are going to go up significantly. as of this time, only eight states of 50 have passed a redistricting map. we have a long way to go. as those numbers go up, the court cases will go up as well. >> remind us what the supreme court decision was? >> it said that the formula that determines which state, city and
county is subject to section five of the voting rights act, which had the preclearance regime, it meant that these are localities that had a history of discrimination and voting on the basis of race. they would have to pre-approve any changes they made to their election laws. in shelby county, they said the coverage formula, written in 1965, was not tailored to current circumstances and was struck down. congress could we authorize it, but as we stand today, it is the valid law of the land. that is one of the biggest changes. this will be the first redistricting cycle where it was not in effect. >> more on that shelby case and
the redistricting. the assistant attorney general. spoke in a recent senate hearing on that case. this is what she had to >> we are on the cusp of a transformational moment. a new redistricting cycle has commenced. numbers show the u.s. is becoming an increasingly diverse nation with population growth attributable to increases in the number of people of color. absent congressional action would be the first in half a century without the full protection of the voting rights act. jurisdictions might be poised to dilute the increased minority voting strength that has resulted from these natural demographic changes. without preclearance, the justice
department will have limited tools to obtain documents and assess where voting rights are being restricted, hampering enforcement efforts. >> i can go to november of this year when virginia and new jersey have elections this november. typically, they would we district on time in early 2021. they would give their data particularly early. the data did not come out until august. they will be running under old maps 11-time this november and then they will redistrict in 2022. you already have an example. i
would expect them to be district. >> does it open a whole new avenue? they say they want a vote in the we map? >> i'm not sure what it would be for a vote again. having compliance -- if you have the old district and by we have to be district. we went to get them close to equal within the parameters. this case is do
occur. there are cases like that including in louisiana and pennsylvania. it is something that we are seeing already and we can see more of in the coming months. >> very complicated redistricting effort taking place. taking your phone calls. gary is out of michigan. >> i am coming at this as an expert on gerrymandering, considering i have been affected by gerrymandering pretty strongly this year. this year is the first year, that we have used the nonpartisan. the legislature is doing it and it is not democrat or republican.
both parties do it in whatever states that they are controlling. whichever party has the power, they are more than willing to gerrymander. i bought my house in 1976. my house has not moved, but i have been in four different congressional districts. this year, i could potentially be in a fifth one, all due to partisan gerrymandering. >> we will hear from david from gaithersburg, maryland. >> thank you for taking my call. it is interesting to hear about michigan because i was going to ask if you are familiar with maryland having done this new commission for the first time, that the governor set up and if you had any thoughts or how you think that is going. i was just
curious. another question about the preclearance that you go -- were talking about. is there a recommendation to get people more engaged at the state level? the constitution says what it does and states have that power, so i do not know if you have a strategy. thank you. >> we have michigan, maryland, concerns about jamie wondering and votes. your recommendation for getting involved? >> i am not surprised. redistricting is at the front of people's minds. they are more familiar with this topic than ever before. we do not usually get involved in community engagement, but i'm sure that there are organizations within
your state that work on redistricting that you could reach out to. i will throw out a couple organizations that i know are engaged. common cause is engaged in redistricting. the cato institute -- they have national outreach. in addition, you can also reach out to particular parties. the parties have what can get people engaged. at this point, they provide organizing or advice to people on how they should redistrict. we advise people on the policies that go into redistricting, so that those drawing the lines have the best possible.
>> concerns about gerrymandering always comes up, but do you think that those concerns are increasing in recent years? have concerns over gerrymandering than bigger than they are right now? >> the original term of j mentoring comes from massachusetts in 1812. he signed into law a redistricting plan drawn by the massachusetts general court of that state. a newspaper came across it and said this is not a salamander, which it kind of looked like. it is a gerry-mander. it is not new. politics have always been a part of redistricting. >> richmond, virginia. this is
martin, an independent. >> good morning. you guys have answered some of my questions. they are back to the red and blue split, trying to do it, but my question is, how are these computer programs that they use to optimize the algorithms -- has there been any thought given to that? thank you. show less >> technology has certainly improved over the previous decade. ask people from the 1980's and 1990's. they were drawn lines with pencils or
crayons and now we -- they were using calculators. now we have software that does that job in a matter of seconds. the technology has certainly improved. what the caller is getting at is the analysis. there are a couple different pieces here. compactness is a traditional principal. it just means, does the district have a normal-looking shape that is tight around an area of geography? there are methods that can measure that to see if a district is more compact or less compact than others. there are new tools that were developed as part of litigation to measure partisanship. they
get involved to compare election results, the votes that occur, and there are tools that can draw millions of maps in a matter of hours that are all compliant with the voting rights act and traditional principles. they compare it to a benchmark. there are a lot of new tools and i'm sure they are online and available to people. >> you mentioned one person, one vote, but how do states handle undocumented immigrants and others who are not allowed to vote when it comes to redistricting? >> there was a case that came out and texas, like all states did in 2010 -- to reconcile based on it, they did not take
into account a person's immigration status or legal status. so, in 19, the supreme court ruled that the one person, one vote was an acceptable method of reconciling people for one person, one vote. they were silent on whether other method would be acceptable. we do not know if the answer would be yes or no, if they only wanted to be district on the basis of citizenship, but right now, total population is the answer. they use a different. >> out of tennessee, this is on >>. we will leave this journal in order to keep our wide coverage of congress. the u.s. house is about to gaveling for what we believe is