Redistricting maps released by court
The legislative and congressional district maps drawn by the three Special Masters make dramatic changes in the current lines, appearing to nest two assembly Districts in each state Senate district and balancing the four congressional districts to just one person apart in total population.
Among the congressional districts, two are Democrat dominated and one of those in Clark County is nearly 43 percent Hispanic, which may satisfy the objections that caused Gov. Brian Sandoval to veto the Democratic plan sent him by the 2011 Legislature.
The northern district that contains most of the rural areas is solidly Republican but the remaining district covering a large chunk of central Nevada favors Democrats as does one of the Clark County districts. The remaining Clark County district is evenly split between the major parties.
The three masters, Carson City Clerk/Recorder Alan Glover, former legislative Research Division chief Bob Erickson and Las Vegas lawyer Tom Sheets, managed to get the population variance in legislative districts down to less than 1 percent.
Their report to Carson District Judge Todd Russell says as much as possible, they avoided dividing political subdivisions between districts. They also managed to keep every county except two in their Senate and Assembly districts. The exceptions are Lyon because of the distance between Fernley and Yerington, its two primary population centers, and a small piece of northern Clark, which joined the large central district
The report states that as much as possible, the districts were drawn to be as compact and regularly shaped.
“To the extent practicable, the Special Masters have endeavored to avoid creating contests between incumbents,” the report states.
As a result, an initial review of the maps shows that incumbent members of the Legislature will only face a primary in one Clark County Assembly district.
In dealing with the issue of Hispanics – a key sticking point between the two parties – the report says they concluded no particular minority was sufficiently compact geographically to be contained in a single congressional district.
They also concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to conclude that block voting by the white majority defeated minority candidates and, therefore, reasoned that there is no violation of the Voter Rights Act by not trying to create a Hispanic majority district.
Nonetheless, they created a rectangular district in the northern central portion of urban Las Vegas that is 42.7 percent Hispanic.
The northern Congressional District includes Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Pershing, Storey, Washoe and part of Lyon County. It is 43 percent Republican and 35 percent Democrat.
Two districts are completely within Clark County. District 1 is 52 percent Democrat and 25 percent Republican. District 4, which reaches half way up the state from Clark, is 46 percent Democrat and 33 percent Republican., It, includes the other part of Lyon, Part of Clark and all of Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral, Nye and White Pine counties.
District 3 in Clark County is split 40 percent Democrat and 37 percent Republican.
In Western Nevada, Sen. James Settelmeyer’s new district covers Carson City, Douglas, eastern, Storey and southern Lyon counties. Appeared to be nested within that district are Assemblymen Tom Grady, Kelly Kite and Pete Livermore. All are Republicans.
Accompanying the maps, Judge Todd Russell issued a new order shortening deadlines for the parties to the case to respond to the maps and setting a hearing on any issues raised before the Supreme Court’s Nov. 14 hearing on the case.
He ordered all opposition briefs be filed by Oct. 24 and set a hearing on the district court issued for Oct. 27, well before the Supreme Court’s Nov. 14 hearing.
Part of the high court hearing will be devoted to arguments over whether the courts can or should draw legislative and congressional district boundaries.
That issue, however, may be legally settled since, at the start of the first hearing in the case, Russell asked all parties whether they disagreed that the court could hear and decide the redistricting issues and draw lines. Since none of the parties objected at that time. It would be up to the Nevada Supreme Court to decide whether one or both could go back and question the district court’s jurisdiction now.