Nevada gains a fourth seat

Nevada is getting a fourth seat in the House of Representatives, thanks to a decade in which the Silver State was the fastest-growing in the union, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday.

Nevada’s population as of April 1 was 2,700,551, a 35 percent gain over 2000, despite the way the recession has impacted the state since 2007.

“Today’s announcement that our congressional delegation will grow by one can only make Nevada stronger,” said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The Legislature in Carson City is expected to carve out the new district in its upcoming session, beginning Feb. 7.

The natural tendency of the politicians will be to cut a deal, creating four gerrymandered districts, two of which are judged “safe” for each major party based on registration numbers.

But that’s not what would be best for Nevadans. What would be best for Nevadans is to see all four districts drawn with reasonable geographic and demographic coherence, with as many as possible being competitive — that it to say, containing nearly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats.

That would give more Nevadans a real choice, by encouraging active campaigns between qualified candidates.

Given population statistics for all the population centers north of Las Vegas, and for each section in the Las Vegas Valley, a schoolchild could place a vertical and horizontal marker across the Spaghetti Bowl, then slowly shift one or both, until each resulting quadrangle shows a nearly equal population of 677,358.

The more the proposed district map is at variance with such a quartering, the more hanky-panky you can assume has transpired.

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