2nd June 2011, 07:05 PM #1
A political map
I'm posting what people on a Pokemon forum obviously crave: A political district map of New York. The nuts and bolts of politics are a hobby of mine, and when given the chance to use an excellent redistricting tool, I decided to take advantage of it to launch a revamped map of my home state and its 27 congressional districts. It had 29, but lost two in the latest census.
I abided by the following self-guidelines (which I occasionally waived):
1: Try to stick relatively closely to county and borough lines.
2: Go for either political balance or geographic balance. It's hard to do both.
3: Completely ignore the presence of any RL representatives. Act as if the guidelines are completely different. This allows me to be more imaginative.
So, here goes!
This is a statewide view of the redistricted map. Now I'll show you, one region at a time, the districts, and my comments on making them.
Part 1: West New York
West New York is in many ways the region of the state that has suffered the most hardship. Upper New York at least has beautiful scenery (and prisons), and the southeastern counties benefit from a trickle-down stream of revenue from citizens who commute to the city (and a lot of prisons). Western New York, its geographical advantages destroyed by the St. Lawrence Seaway, and forced to bear grey skies and lake effect snow, has nothing going for it (except some prisons).
Major cities: Jamestown, Lockport, Salamanca
2008 election results: McCain 51.9%, Obama 46.4%
My 1st District of New York stretches from Chataqua County to Lake Ontario, taking in rural country to the south and Buffalo suburbs to the north. While it would have voted for McCain, the areas making up this district have all been represented by Democrats at one point or another, making this competitive.
I really didn't have to work too hard to make this district. It was a kind of "make it up as you go", but the result was something that managed to maintain both relative geographic and political balance.
Major cities: Buffalo, Amherst
2008 election results: Obama 62.4%, McCain 36.0%
The 2nd District consists of Buffalo and its immediate surroundings, including Niagara Falls. A Democratic district, it meets the geographic balance fairly easily.
This was very easy. Buffalo had almost the population to be a district unto itself, and adding its surroundings changed very little demographically.
Major cities: Elmira, Binghamton
2008 election results: McCain 51.2%, Obama 47.3%
The 3rd District is largely rural, and with the exception of Binghamton, largely Republican as well. While it works, it was the result of a difficult decision: Whether or not to add Binghamton. I could have created a more Republican district by putting in a few rural counties instead, but doing so would leave that city free to make a fellow district more Democratic. Instead I chose to smother Binghamton in a district that still trends Republican.
Major cities: Rochester
2008 election results: Obama 58.3%, McCain 40.5%
The 4th District was easy as pie. Monroe County has just the right number of people, and leans Democratic without being a guaranteed victory.