AP finds gerrymandering in all 3 rez states


Last year, the Navajo Nation won its five-year lawsuit against San Juan County, Utah, which claimed the county had egregiously gerrymandered its county commission districts to disenfranchise Navajos.

But if new statistics released by the Associated Press are to be believed, gerrymandering in the Four Corners is the rule rather than the exception. Using a new statistical analysis method developed by a University of Chicago law professor and a Public Policy Institute of California researcher, the AP found legislative districts in all three of the states that contain parts of the Navajo Nation are skewed toward the Republican Party, while congressional districts favor Republicans in Utah and Arizona, and Democrats in New Mexico.

It’s a little bit complicated, but bear with us. The new statistical analysis method, developed by Nick Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, measures what the men call “the efficiency gap.”

Basically, the researchers determined the percentage of votes each party got in each state, figured out the number of candidates from each party who should have been elected based on those percentages, and then compared those numbers with the number of Democrats and Republicans actually elected.

They factored in unopposed candidates, and came up with the percentage of deviation from the results that would have occurred if all districts were created equal. A positive efficiency gap indicates the states’ districts favored Republicans; a negative figure means they favored Democrats. The larger the number, the further the actual results were from what would be expected in a perfect world.

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Categories: Politics

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at editor@navajotimes.com.