End Gerrymandering in Oregon

Gerrymandering in Oregon

In Oregon, the Legislative Assembly is responsible for drawing is own Legislative Districts. Oregon requires all Districts to have equal populations, but there is no requirement to prevent any party from receiving an electoral advantage. Despite a fairly even balance of power in the 2011 Legislative Session, the District map approved gave Democrats the advantage to win a supermajority of seats. The effect on the rest of the ballot is important - lower level campaigns for Legislature are allies in the field for candidates seeking statewide and federal office. If Democrats have a legislative supermajority, they are more likely to help elect other candidates up and down the ballot. Republicans must prioritize leveling the playing field before doubling down on any other issue.

Positive numbers are Districts with a Democratic voter registration advantage. Negative numbers are Districts with a Republican registration advantage.

2012 House General Election Statistics

  • 38 State House Districts had more Democratic than Republican voters.
  • Democratic voter registration advantages ranged from 137-27,055. Republican voter registration advantages ranged from 684-8295.
  • The average Democratic voter registration advantage was 7,449.08, and the median was 5,067.5. The average Republican voter registration advantage was 4,004.55, and the media was 3,504.
  • 8 Democratic House Districts had a voter registration advantage greater than 10,000; Republicans had 0.

Positive numbers are Districts with a Democratic voter registration advantage. Negative numbers are Districts with a Republican registration advantage.

2018 House General Election Statistics

  • 40 State House Districts had more Democratic than Republican voters.
  • Democratic voter registration advantages ranged from 79-31,343. Republican voter registration advantages ranged from 1,047-10,311.
  • The average Democratic voter registration advantage was 9,357.13, and the median was 6,046,5. The average Republican voter registration advantage was 5,160.5, and the median was 4,405.
  • 14 Democratic House Districts had a voter registration advantage greater than 10,000; Republicans had 1.

A Tale of Two Maps

County Maps

Democrats have won only the same 7 of 36 counties in the last 4 gubernatorial elections. How does a party win statewide office when so few counties voted primarily for Governor Kate Brown? The answer is simple.

Senate District Maps

The basic electoral unit in Oregon is not counties, but legislative districts. Democratic voter turnout exceeded Republican voter turnout in 22 out of 30 Senate Districts in 2018, giving Governor Brown a much larger geographic advantage in the election than is suggested by a map of counties won by each candidate.

Note: Governor Brown won all Senate Districts in the Portland metro area, which are not broken down in detail in the above map.

Solutions

    • Republicans must fight for the creation of a nonpartisan redistricting commission that prevents our politicians from choosing their voters. The Oregon League of Women Voters is circulating a petition (IP57) to create such a commission that only needs 149,000 signatures to gain ballot access. Hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions to recall Governor Kate Brown, so obtaining ballot access for a nonpartisan redistricting commission is achievable.
    • The entire Republican Caucus needs to co-sponsor nonpartisan redistricting legislation in 2021 if a ballot measure fails. Republicans need to be ready to walk out of the Capitol again to fight for a level playing field.
    • The Oregon Secretary of State draws Legislative District maps if the Legislative Assembly fails to act. Republicans need to elect a Republican Secretary of State who will commit to drawing a Legislatie map that levels the playing field for both parties, as well as pursue permanent redistricting reform.