District lines are muting Minorities by Kayla Ford

Since voting has existed, it has been controlled. Once the Civil War was over, previous slaves were now “citizens”. Citizens who weren’t allowed access to certain healthcare, neighborhoods, schools, and restaurants. The familiarity of the segregation was widely known and accepted. However, certain southern states took it further by implementing “literacy” test in order to vote. With the Black community lacking in education, it was impossible test to pass. This test had questions to do task such as: “Draw a figure that is square in shape. Divide it in half  by drawing a straight line from its northeast corner to its southeast corner, and then divid it once more by drawing a broken line from the middle of its western side to the middle of its eastern side.” There were also poll taxes, which means those living in poverty couldn’t vote. They created a legal system in which the those who were not White, rich, or educated, could not vote. These laws did not change until the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.

Racism did not just magically disappear in 1965, it changed, it evolved, and it went into hiding. Each Congressional district represents one vote for an electoral college. Whomever is voted in as electoral college represents that state in the senate, and votes for the state in Presidential Election. Every 10 years when the census is finished, district lines are redrawn to ensure each district has an equal population. However it has been proven that politicians have redrawn district lines to segregate minorities and whites, in order to gain easier votes and win the district.

It was just ruled in Federal court, April of this year, that in 2011 three of the congressional districts in Texas were illegally drawn, by using race as leading factor of how the lines were drawn. One would ask, how or could  this have effect the 2016 Presidential election, since this was ruled after race? And why is the 2016 election so important for Texas? 2016 was the first year that that Texas could have turned possibly into a Blue State(democratic), since Regan. This was due to the high Hispanic registered voters population. Because Texas has high number of electoral votes, its one of the most important states in the Presidential election. In theory, if Texas were to vote democratic and all the other states stayed the same, the Democratic candidate would win.

To answer previously mentioned question, if this could have affected the 2016 election, there isn’t an answer. The data doesn’t exist yet. However, we can refer to some old data from 2015 of the registered voters in Texas. In the map below, it will help visualize how district lines can be strategically placed and altered. There is a clear pattern of which there are districts that have more Hispanics and Blacks than, Whites. Some on to 4:1 Ratio. In district 10, there is a average total of 395,276 White registered voters, while there is only 92,052 Hispanics in comparison. In the district 30 they have an average of 1,895,838 Asian voters. While there is only 183,089 Whites. Congressional district 1 has a ratio of Whites to hispanics of three to one.

Links for Interactive Maps

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 7.19.34 PMScreen Shot 2017-05-07 at 7.19.47 PM

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 7.20.04 PMScreen Shot 2017-05-07 at 7.20.27 PM

The pattern continues and cannot just be a coincidence. For years White people have been gentrifying neighborhoods and pushing the minorities out. By making their own communities unaffordable through raising rent. This has pre-grouped these communities to make it easier to redraw out district lines in a parties favor. As mentioned before, it allows politicians to gain votes easier and manipulate elections. Imaging the difference it would be to have 2 districts with more hispanics than whites. Versus, having one district that is all hispanic and another that is all White. If you are running for office and you target audience is White, this would work out for you. But is it fair? When it comes to representation quantity is the only thing that matters. When the lines are redrawn for manipulation, it changes the weight of citizens vote.


Voting Final Project: How Age Affects Voting Patterns in Texas

Link to Tableau Public Visualizations: Voting Final Project Workbook

While Donald Trump charged ahead in polling in Texas toward the end of the 2016 election, he fell behind Hillary Clinton when it came to college-age voters, or millennials.

These young voters heavily favored U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in his primary campaign against Clinton, but as Election Day drew nearer, many of them switched their tickets to Clinton, refusing to back Donald Trump.

The visualizations shown below were created through an analyzation voting data from the last three election cycles against the median ages of each Texas county. It was found that as a county’s median age decreases, it too shifts toward being more democratic.

The below scatterplot (source: https://factfinder.census.gov) indicates that Democratic voters did not surpass the age of 40 in the 2008 election cycle, and this continued throughout the following two presidential elections. In the 2016 election, voter ages in counties that went blue tended to be younger. Republicans ages tended to vary, but the average age was significantly higher than Democrats.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 2.08.52 PM

In the 2016 election, however, voters’ age fluctuated in terms of their voting pattern. Typically Republican counties’ voting ages became younger and more Democratic, demonstrating Trump’s polarizing effect on voters.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 3.41.42 PM

This graph depicts the Democratic influence in particular counties. The larger the bubble, the stronger the Democratic vote. In Texas, the millennials in larger counties such as Harris, tended to have a higher income and voted Democratic.

Nationwide numbers showed Clinton polled better with younger voters than President Barack Obama did in the 2012 general election. A poll conducted by the Harvard University Institute of Politics found that Clinton was up 28 points over Trump among likely voters aged 18 to 29. In 2012, the same poll showed Obama with a 15-point lead over Mitt Romney among 18- to 24-year-olds and a 26-point lead among 25- to 29-year-olds.

The collected data depicts that demographics across the country have made younger cohorts more diverse and therefore more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate.

Voting Final Project: How Housing Income Affects Voting Patterns in Texas

Link to Tableau Public Visualizations: Voting Project Workbook

In the 2016 election, long-running voting patterns shifted throughout the state of Texas, despite Donald Trump’s preservation of the 36-year streak of Republican presidential candidates winning the state.

This interactive county map shows that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in most of the state’s largest urban areas and along much of the border. Trump dominated in the rest of the state.

Texas had a tendency throughout the 2016 election to mirror the entirety of the nation’s voting patters, with urban voters strongly favoring Democrats, while rural and many suburban voters favored Republicans. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 227 of the state’s 254 counties, racking up an advantage of 1,697,593 votes.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 3.33.19 PM

The above graph depicts the ending voting patterns of Texas counties in the 2016 election. The red shows counties that voted Trump and the blue shows counties that voted for Clinton.

Several counties fluctuated throughout his campaign and swayed their votes in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton. The dividing lines could largely be identified by housing income. The visualizations shown below were created based upon the last three election cycles and the correlations between voting patterns and median household income.

The data (source: ftp://ftpgis1.tlc.state.tx.us/elections/) on the scatter plot below shows from the last three election cycles that as the household income decreases, a county begins to turn more blue, or in other words, it shifts from being Republican to more Democratic. This was prevalent throughout the 2016 runoff between Trump and Clinton.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 3.35.15 PM

The above graph depicts the median household income in all counties throughout Texas and how it correlated with the percentage of people who voted for either Clinton or Trump.

Trump’s biggest vote yield came in Montgomery County, one of several suburban counties — like Collin, Denton and Parker — that turned in reliably high Republican votes. The suburban counties tended to have lesser housing incomes. Tarrant was the most populous county in his column, turning in a pile of Republican votes in spite of Clinton’s victory in Fort Worth, its biggest city. Trump also won many of the state’s mid-size cities and nearly all of its rural areas, which had the lowest income in the state.

Clinton beat Trump in 27 counties by a total of 883,819 votes. Her wins came in some of the state’s biggest counties — Harris, Dallas, Bexar, Travis, El Paso, Hidalgo and Fort Bend. Each of these counties tended to have higher incomes. Trump won the vast majority of rural Texas, but not everything: Clinton took a few relatively unpopulated counties like Kennedy and Culberson.

Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 3.36.45 PM

This graph depicts Trump’s supporters were in large numbers throughout the state, but Clinton held a few strongholds in counties that have been historically Republican. The larger the circle in each county, the larger the household income. One county switched from Democratic to Republican in the 2016 election: Brewster.

Trump’s overall margin was smaller than Mitt Romney’s 2012 win in Texas. In fact, Trump got a smaller percentage of the overall vote in Texas than any of the eight Republicans running statewide. Conversely, Clinton got a higher percentage of the vote than any of the Democrats running statewide.

The Republicans have won the last 10 presidential elections in Texas and every statewide race in every election since 1994. But one takeaway from this year’s contests is that Democrats reduced the normal Republican margins and their scattered blue spots on the Texas map — the state’s biggest cities — turned in stronger Democratic performances than they have in the past.

Turnout was down and also up, depending on how you want to think about it. Unofficially, 8.9 million people voted this year, up from just under 8 million four years ago. That’s 59.1 percent of the state’s registered voters this time, 58.6 percent last time. As a percentage of the state’s adults, turnout was 42.9 percent on Tuesday, down from 43.7 percent four years ago.

Texas has 254 countries and most are older and more rural. As they become more diverse and populated, we can conclude that they will also shift from being strong Republican strongholds to potential Democratic majorities.

Voting over time…

Texas has always proudly been Republican. It’s one of the most important states during the U.S. presidential elections due to its high rank in population, but every year, little by little, the states’ stance has begun to shift left in its more populous regions.

After the last Census in 2010, Texas redistricted according to its growth. In 2010, the state was composed of 32 congressional districts, nine being Democrat and 23 Republican. Every district carries no less than 700,000 residents and exceeds no more than about 720,000. According to the Census results of 2010, Texas had grown to almost 20 million residents, forcing Congress to allow an additional four seats in The House for Texas alone—two were Democrat seats and two were Republican.

But exactly how are the congressional districts determined? Of course, they are separated by counties and zip codes, but Texas being proud of its roots, how would it allow any change in representation? The answer is simple.

After the Census reports every ten years, all states in the union (except independent governments) are required to redistrict according to its population. This gives every state the assurance of equal representation in the House of Representatives. Notably, these congressmen are choosing their voters, and not the other way around. The districts tightly hug the zip codes that are more similar in demographics, grouping all democrats in one, and republicans in others not allowing proper representation of our state.

When looking at a congressional districts’ map, we can see that the districts don’t necessarily follow a pattern in the divisions. This is the case for all 50 states. We can also observe the voting for Texas after the past three elections and notice a slight shift change in parties on both extremes, and quite confidently predict a party change for Texas in the next several elections IF the values of the parties are still being promoted in the same manner. In the Presidential Elections of 2012, the state voted favorably Republican in the middle eastern part of the state, but in the election of 2016, it reversed quite dramatically to the opposition side.

Democrat and Republican Voting Patterns

Reps and Dems 2008-1016

Voting Final Project: Reporting Plan

My story will explore the correlations between the median household income of counties in Texas with their voting patterns throughout the last three presidential elections: 2016, 2012, and 2008.

I am going to organize my arguments and facts by creating several different interactive data maps and data plots, which will show the correlation I will argue in my news piece. I will begin with the strongest trend I discovered in my data plots, then compare and contrast Texas counties who voted democratic and who voted republican in recent presidential elections.

Upon making these assertions, I will then analyze how household income dictated voting patterns and what counties shifted their views because of or despite their income and the political ideas that would typically align with certain counties.

I will present the maps indicating which counties voted for whom first, with a depiction of all three months from the three presidential elections I am analyzing. I will then go more in depth as the article continues with detailed maps, such as scatter plots, that take a deeper look at certain counties and specific elections in comparison to others.

I will use 3 visualizations per news piece. I will have two news articles.

Blog Post 2 (2): CVAP Census Tract

Hispanic citizen voting age population data

  1. My source is the Hispanic Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) data from the Census Tract, which examines citizen voting age population for the Houston area. This data shows the high concentration of CVAP and what their votes tended to be based on area in the 2016 election.
  2. Dependent upon how many people were signed up to vote and how many showed up at the ballots to vote on election day, this data show the geographic likelihood of Hispanic voters across different counties in Houston.
  3. The types of questions that can be explored with this data set include: How many people showed up at the ballots who were predicted to vote per county? How many people showed up who were not predicted to vote? How many people in the CVAP were registered to vote per county? How many people voted within the CVAP limitations? What was the total CVAP at the voting ballots?


Blog Post 2: Voting over time…

Registered vs Active voters

Voters’ shift patterns

To find information about voter patterns we need to evaluate demographics over time. I intended to find information about where each party dominated by county. In the link titled Voters’ shift patterns, we are presented with data that dates back to the elections from 2000. Observing the results of the elections to our most recent general election gives us an idea of how each county in the US is shifting or remaining consistent. With this data, we can further investigate whether the results are changing due to a difference in social culture or if the changes are due to migration. I wanted to also present data that shows how many registered voters are actually participating in the elections and how many citizens, eligible to register, are entirely out of the loop. In the link titled Registered vs Active voters, we can see the change in political involvement in the US population from elections dating back to 1970. This data will help us note the interest of US citizens in political events over time.