Thursday, February 16, 2017

It's Official

The Columbia County Board of Elections has announced the completion, on Tuesday, of the city voter database realignment. The map below shows the new ward divisions--five wards of very nearly equal population.

The new wards will elect representatives to the Common Council in November 2017, and beginning in January 2018, the aldermen then elected will cast votes of equal weight, thus ending the arcane weighting voting system in Hudson. You can read the details in the Register-Star: "Hudson city wards realigned."
COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK

11 comments:

  1. A couple interesting tidbits from the RS story: "Wards are based on total population, not on voters" and the breakdown of the wards by voters is "884 voters in Ward 1; 658 in Ward 2; 822 in Ward 3; 759 in Ward 4 and 825 in Ward 5." As to Council representation, seems not quite so fair and equal.

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  2. Hudson City Council members, like all elected officials in the US, represent the people who live in their districts, not just registered voters.

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  3. As the single vote of each council member is based on the total population of each of the districts (as shown in the ward map) being almost equal it is "fair and equal" according to that principle. The aldermen represent all of the people of their wards, not just the voters.

    The number of _voters_ in each district is a separate issue not relevant to the council vote but it is a consideration to the CCBoE, as they have to support voting by arranging voting districts and by providing polling places for voters in each district. The number of voters in each district doesn't have to be the same, they just have to not exceed 950.

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    1. Thanks, Michael. Yes I know that number of voters (and my supposition is that meant "registered" voters not necessarily people who voted) in the ward is not a Common Council issue, but it is a reminder of the limits of a one-person-one-vote rule in a representative democracy: Ward 2's 658 voters would surely seem to have more per person influence on the Council than Ward 1's 884 voters. Mandatory registration and voting, perhaps?

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  4. For over a year, Peter Meyer has poked and prodded at the Fair & Equal initiative. That's been a good thing. But it is disappointing to me, at least, that at this late date, he is still trying to cast doubt on the integrity and fairness of the one person, one vote concept behind Fair & Equal. He's still unclear about key concepts, such as the idea that council member represent all of their constituents, whether constituents vote or not. Whether or not Mr. Meyer recognizes it, Hudson has moved to a fairer, more democratic system.

    Charlie Suisman

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  5. This discussion is helpful; it's the one we should have had -- as a community -- before drawing the ward lines; that's democracy, a community discussion that accomplishes one of democracy's most important goals: community education. And based on Mr. Suisman's comment he still doesn't understand the important distinction between one-person-one-vote and the process by which by which those votes are informed and secured. Of course, doing away with the weighted voting advances democracy; the manner in which the new ward lines were drawn, as smart as the F&E people are, did not advance democracy, which must include all citizens, not just the best and the brightest.

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  6. It is my understanding that the lines will be redrawn after the 2020 census. Perhaps Peter Meyer, and indeed everyone in the city, can be more involved when that day comes.

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  7. Yes, in theory, many things get redrawn (or refigured) after a dicennial census because they are population-based. In effect, Hudson did a ward redrawing midway through the decade, so to speak. And though I applaud the F&E folks their outreach, it was more of a campaign to sell the proposition (a successful one) than it was a community discussion about redistricting. But the question post-2020 will be the same as in 2016: who does the redrawing? There's no magic in getting the community involved; it takes political will and work.

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    1. But doesn't your latest argument rely on a cynical assumption, whereby Aldermen, in practice, only end up representing voting constituents rather than all residents of their respective Wards?

      If you're implying that the alternative is to create Ward boundaries by numbers of voters rather than residential populations, then that creates its own problems.

      Maybe what is so unfair and unequal for you is the relatively greater power a voter in the 2nd Ward will have to that of a voter in, say, the 1st Ward, which is where I live.

      If the 2nd Ward is to have 658 voters to the 1st Ward's 884, then any individual voter in the 2nd Ward will have greater access to the halls or power than I will in my Ward. In my Ward, my Aldermen will have to divide their attentions between more of my neighbors, which will not be the case for my lucky counterparts in the 2nd Ward.

      But this doesn't trouble me in the least, because I know that my Aldermen (whoever they may be) will continue to represent everyone in my Ward. It's the standard we aim for, and the one everyone will continue to honor.

      Anything other than direct democracy is imperfect, but for us perfection can only be a chimera.

      That said, I believe that F&E gets us closer to perfection than any other model.

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