Floterial Districts, Reapportionment, and the Puzzle of Representation

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Because of recent Supreme Court decisions involving a more permissive stance toward a "rational state policy" (Brown v. Thompson) and the challenge of partisan gerrymandering (Davis v. Bandemer), state legislatures and reapportionment commissions are left with nebulous guidelines for the next round of reapportionment plans. This article reviews some of these issues of representation in light of a specific electoral technique known as the "floterial district." Floterials are not widely understood, but they reemerged in several states in the reapportionment plans of the 1980s, and there is some speculation that floterials will be considered by more states in the 1990s. With this in mind, I discuss the specific nature of floterials and pose some problems (framed as puzzles) in the use of floterials.

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