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GLOSSARY
 

Apportionment: The process of assigning the number of members of Congress that each state may elect following each census.

Community of interest: A grouping of people that has common political, social, or economic interests.

Compactness: The degree to which the geography assigned to a district is close together.

Contiguity: Adjacency. For redistricting purposes, a district is considered to be contiguous if each part of the district touches another part of the district at more than a point, so that the entire district is within a continuous boundary.

Deviation: The amount by which a district's population differs from the ideal district population for the particular plan type. Deviation may be stated in terms of:

"Absolute deviation" A plus (+) or minus (-) number, showing the difference between the district's population and the ideal districtís population.

"Relative deviation" is attained by dividing the district's absolute deviation by the ideal districtís population and is expressed as a plus (+) or minus (-) percentage.

Equal Protection Clause: See "Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: The U.S. Constitution provision that includes the Equal Protection Clause, which prohibits the states from denying persons equal protection of the law. The Equal Protection Clause is the primary basis of the One-Person, One-Vote principle (see later).

Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: The U.S. Constitution provision providing that the right to vote may not be denied or abridged on account of race.

Gerrymander: Intentionally drawing a district in such a way as to favor one or more interest groups (including political parties) over others.

Ideal district population: A population measure calculated by dividing the total population of the state or other jurisdiction being redistricted by the number of districts in the type of redistricting plan being considered For example, in 2001, the ideal district population for house districts will be 42,561, which is the 2000 state population (4,468,976) divided by 105 house districts. (
Ideal District Populations for LA )

Minority Districts: Term used for districts where a racial or ethnic minority group constitutes an effective majority of the population, sufficient to provide to members of that minority group a reasonable opportunity to elect candidates of its choice.

Visible Boundaries: District boundaries that are visible geographic features, whether natural or man-made.

One person, one vote: The principle derived from the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that each person's vote should count the same as every other personís vote which is achieved by requiring that all legislative districts be drawn approximately equal in population.

Overall Range or Overall Deviation: For a redistricting plan, the difference in population between the smallest and largest district, normally expressed as a percentage.
P.L. (Public Law) 94-171: The federal statute that requires the Census Bureau to provide, by April 1 of each year following a decennial census, the population and race data necessary for redistricting.

Preclearance: A determination by a three-judge federal court in Washington D.C. or the U. S. Attorney General that the submitting jurisdiction has met its burden of demonstrating that a particular voting change (including a districting plan) does not violate Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, i.e., Adoes not have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color.

Reapportionment: The allocation of seats in a legislative body (such as Congress) among established jurisdictions (such as states), where the jurisdictionís boundaries do not change but the number of members per jurisdiction does change.

Redistricting: The process of redefining the geographic boundaries of individual election units such as legislative or congressional districts.

Registration (Reg Total): The total number of persons registered to vote, as of March 15, 2001, within a geographic unit of the state of Louisiana.

Retrogression: A voting change that leaves minority voters "worse off" than they had been before the change with respect to their opportunity to exercise the electoral franchise.

Single-Member District: District that elects only one representative.

Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing System (TIGER): The cartographic map database, prepared by the Census Bureau, that the states use as the geographic database for redistricting.

Total range of deviation: The range over which the populations of all districts in a redistricting plan deviate from the ideal district population, normally expressed as a percentage.

TOT POP: The total population of the state of Louisiana as determined by the decennial census of 2000.

TOT Asian: The total population of the state of Louisiana who reported themselves as being, even partially, of Asian ancestry, excluding any such persons who reported themselves as being, even partially, of Black ancestry.

TOT Black: The total population of the state of Louisiana who reported themselves as being, even partially, of Black ancestry.

TOT Hispanic: The total population of the state of Louisiana who reported themselves as being, even partially, of Hispanic language group.

TOT Other: The total population of the state of Louisiana who reported themselves as being of any ancestry excluding any such persons who reported themselves as being, even partially, of Asian, Black, or White ancestry.

TOT White: The total population of the state of Louisiana who reported themselves as being solely of White ancestry.

VAP Total (Voting age population): The number of persons in a geographic unit who are at least 18 years of age.

Traditional districting principles: a term for criteria, such as compactness and contiguity, that have historically been considered by a particular jurisdiction in drawing election districts.

Voting Rights Act: The federal law prohibiting discrimination in voting practices on the basis of race or language group, codified as 42 U.S.C. Section 1973 et seq. The official title of the Act is the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Sections 2 and 5 of the Act are important for redistricting:

Section 2: Prohibits the adoption of voting standards or practices that abridge the right to vote on the basis of race or language group. This section applies to all states and other governmental units and may be used to challenge a redistricting plan that discriminates against a racial or language minority group by diluting their voting strength.

Section 5: Requires that changes in election procedures and practices (including changes in district lines) be precleared by the U.S. Department of Justice or by a three-judge federal district court in the District of Columbia prior to implementation.

Submissions: For states, such as Louisiana, covered by Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, changes in voting practices or procedures cannot be implemented until Section 5 preclearance has been obtained. A state may choose to petition the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia for preclearance or submit the voting change to the U. S. Attorney General. If the plan is submitted to the Attorney General for preclearance, the Department of Justice has 60 days within which to review a Acomplete@ submission. If the U.S. Attorney General interposes an objection to all or part of the redistricting plan, the legislature may (1) attempt to cure the objection by making changes to the districting plan; (2) request administrative reconsideration from the Attorney General; or (3) seek a declaratory judgment in the District Court of the District of Columbia that the districting plan does not violate Section 5.

 

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