The Top Ten Most Blatantly Illegal Noncontiguous Congressional Districts
OK, somebody’s got to go to jail for this crime against common sense. NY-12 isn’t just noncontiguous — it’s composed of four completely separate geographical enclaves, scattered across Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. Talk about brazen. This is the step beyond mere partisan bias — I hereby dub it “cherrymandering,” a combination of cherrypicking and gerrymandering.
New York apparently has no ethical guidelines or laws against cheating, because here they are at it again: NY-8, like its neighbor NY-12, is utterly, laughably noncontiguous. It may have only two separate components (as opposed to four), but they’re not even close to each other. How in the world did the redistricters get away with this? It’s not like the district is off in the backwoods somehwere, with no one around to notice: NY-8 covers much of central Manhattan, with many world-famous landmarks. Hellooooo???
NC-3 may be more noncontiguous than any other district in the nation. As far as I can tell, it’s composed of at least five different coastal enclaves, none of which actually touch each other. Their excuse? They’re all “connected” by the islands of the Outer Banks offshore, even though the connection is only theoretical, not physical.
MD-2 was in the running for the most gerymandered district in the U.S., but its noncontiguity moved it into a category all its own. For not only is the northern part of the district hilariously gerrymandered in the extreme, but the southern part has not just one but two completely disconnected components sitting off all by themselves. Seriously: How did they get away with this?
Another strong contender for “Most Illegal Congressional District in the Country,” FL-6 has, under close inspection, at least six separate noncontiguous outposts (although three of them are quite small). Apparently, the Florida redistricters think that if a road connects two areas widely separated by water, then they count as being adjacent.
FL-10 is FL-11′s northern twin, once more with a patently noncontiguous outpost around Palm Harbor.
And finally we have FL-18, the last of the Florida Quartet of Noncontiguous Districts. The map above doesn’t show it, but other maps, such as this one produced for the election by the New York Times, indicate that FL-18 includes isolated shoreline enclaves scattered across the southern tip of the Florida peninsula:
I’ve found several other maps confirming the inclusion of these noncontiguous enclaves, so FL-18 earns a spot on this list of shame.
TX-14, like NC-3 above, is a series of noncontiguous mainland outposts “connected” by a series of freestanding offshore islands. But could you walk from one end of the district to the other, without crossing other districts? No.
Maryland also apparently subscribes to the “a bridge counts as land” theory of congressional redistricting: two areas on opposite sides of Chesapeake Bay are fused into a single district, connected only by a highway bridge.
And lastly, NJ-13. New Jersey has only one entry on this page, but it’s a doozy: the state’s 13th district consists of two almost equal halves, separated by several miles of open land (part of a different district). It’s like they didn’t even try to make it contiguous. Couldn’t they have at least made a pro forma gesture, like running a thin strip along the beach or underwater or something?