Revised Redistricting Plan Released

Yesterday, Tom Birch released his revised version of the ANC redistricting map. Birch, who is a commissioner on Georgetown’s ANC, was selected by Jack Evans to take the plans of each Ward 2 ANC redistricting committee, alter it if he saw fit, and submit the result to Evans.

Birch made several changes to the plan approved by the ANC2E redistricting committee. The most significant changes address the controversy over the first map, namely that too many people (100% of whom are students) were shoehorned into proposed SMDs 4 and 8.

To address this problem, the revised map takes two dorms and shifts them back to the mixed districts. Specifically, it takes Darnell and shifts it to SMD 2 and takes LXR and shifts it to SMD 5. Of course, it’s worth noting that both those dorms were in “mixed” districts already (the Committee plan took all the dorms from the mixed districts and put them into two student-only districts).

Additional changes include giving Tudor Place back to SMD 7 and adding a couple more apartment buildings just east of Burleith to SMD 2 from SMD 1. The end result of these changes is that the overall numbers get a lot closer to the guideline range of 1,900-2,100:

  • SMD 1:
    • Committee Plan – 2,409
    • Revised Plan – 2,264
  • SMD 2:
    • Committee Plan – 1,660
    • Revised Plan – 1,917
  • SMD 3:
    • Committee Plan – 1,705
    • Revised Plan – 2,010
  • SMD 4:
    • Committee Plan – 2,581
    • Revised Plan – 2,096
    • Actual Numbers – 2,033 (explained below)
  • SMD 5:
    • Committee Plan – 1,710
    • Revised Plan – 1,973
  • SMD 6:
    • Committee Plan – 1,836
    • Revised Plan – 1,836 (Note: this is Tom Birch’s district, so the fact he didn’t change it at all probably reflects his desire not to be seen to be literally choosing his own voters)
  • SMD 7:
    • Committee Plan – 1,983
    • Revised Plan – 2,061
  • SMD 8:
    • Committee Plan – 2,581
    • Revised Plan – 2,315
    • Actual Numbers – 2,113

Whereas under the Committee’s plan, the districts ranged in population from 1,660 to 2,581 (a 55% variation) the current range is only 1,836 to 2,315. And you may have noticed those two “Actual Numbers” above; for those the report states that the Census’ numbers are probably wrong. The report looked to GU’s own reporting and found lower numbers. Taking that into account, the largest district is SMD 1 (Burleith) which has 2,264. And it’s a lot easier to use “neighborhood cohesiveness” to justify an aberrantly sized district when you’re using actual neighborhood lines.

Thus under the revised plan, the most diluted votes live in a non-dorm district. And in that sense, the revised report greatly reduces the one-man-one-vote problems in the Committee plan.

But the plan will certainly disappoint students who hoped to load a third district with enough dorms to ensure a third student commissioner.  And the revised plan will likely result in large numbers of dorm-living students being represented by non-students, something proponents of the committee’s plan earlier called “disenfranchisement”.

However, GM can’t really criticize the revised plan much, since it is basically what he advised in August:

The obvious way to do that would be go back to the old model of having some dorms broke off into the “non-student” districts. It would mean moving a couple hundred students each into SMDs 2, 3, and 5, which is probably not enough to actually result in students winning those districts.

It would be an ugly map. It would mean some students getting ignored for ten more years. And students wouldn’t like it, but it would be legal.

And that’s still true.

Here’s the report:

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Revised Redistricting Plan Released

  1. I think this represents an improvement from where things were in the prior plan, although from a “neighborhood cohesion” standpoint, it would make a lot more sense to look at Darnall Hall and Henle Village as a block, and the East Campus/Alumni Square residences as a block, pulling two of those into SMD08 and the other two into the same alternative SMD (either 2, 3, or 5), with appropriate moves adjusting the other SMD’s size-wise. But I realize I’m spitting into the wind with that one.

    The revisions don’t change the fact that this is a deliberate attempt to dilute the potential voting power of on-campus students (by pulling two individual residence complexes into districts that are quite distinct), but it’s admittedly a less egregious version than the co-chairs plan.

    @GM — I think some of the difference between census numbers and university numbers (which you report as “actual”) come from the fact that there are about 40 Jesuits living on campus, as well as another several dozen faculty-in-residence, chaplains-in-residence, hall directors, and in many cases, their families. These would not be reported in the University’s numbers of undergrads on campus but should count as residents.

    Additionally, I’m not sure if it’s still the case, but in some recent years, residence hall spaces, I believe in Village C East, if they were left vacant by lack of undergraduate demand, were offered to graduate students. I don’t know the number of people would

  2. Pingback: ANC Race Starting to Shape Up | The Georgetown Metropolitan

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