In 2021, the United States performs its decennial process of drawing legislative districts. I, for one, have been very concerned about how this process will go and rather than sit by and let it happen, I want to be involved. This is why I am applying to the Virginia Redistricting Commission.
To that effect, here is my statement:
I feel that I would be an instrumental member of Virginia’s 2021 Redistricting Commission. I am a Progressive with a Conservative relations including members of my very close family. I also have a number of conservative friends. I feel being able to talk to the other party is key to choosing fair districts. I believe in ending Gerrymandering and stopping the practice of Packing and Cracking. I also am an ardent supporter of the Voting Rights Act and want to make sure our General Assembly and Congressional Delegation reflect the basic makeup of the citizenry of Virginia.
This can be accomplished by making sure some districts are biased toward those protected groups while avoiding packing too many and diluting voting power overall. I am a firm believer in the compactness and political efficiency of legislative districts. Compactness is just the perimeter divided by 4π times the area of a district with the fraction being the compactness measure, and 1.00 (100%) is perfectly compact. I also want to use political efficiency to choose our districts. Efficient districts are competitive districts. And the safer a seat, the more wasted votes on that seat. Any vote beyond the minimum needed to win is a wasted vote and I want all our districts to be as politically efficient as possible and waste as few votes as possible.
I am a software engineer and I know that with these 3 scoring algorithms weighted VRA above Efficiency above Compactness, and trying to get the best score overall, that a program can generate perfect, fair, and equal districts using machine learning and game theory. I also want to follow the 12-year rule to bias the result. If we look at the last 16 state-wide elections over the 12-year period from 2009–2020, we expect our House of Delegates to be 51 Democrats, 48 Republicans, and 1 Independent (perhaps Libertarian). Though districts of pure third party would be difficult, a split of about 51/48 ±1 seat does align well with the will of the Virginia people and should be an idea we espouse as a board. I’m here to make sure our board follows these ideals and I know I will be a very valuable member of the committee. I look forward to joining the team.Application for Service on the Virginia Redistricting Commission, Jeffrey C. Jacobs
Please note, that I have redacted the list of conservative family members I have. I do list them in the application but wish to maintain their privacy as Trump voters.
EDIT 2020-12-05: I spoke to some of my family and we agreed that by changing the text to what’s above I could share with you the full text from my application. That said, there is something I am still considering adding of a personal nature.
In any case, I don’t know when I would have time to write such a program, but I know how I would do it and I would love the opportunity to try!
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