Decoding DC: Part Two

November 1, 2016

This time next week will be Election Day! With the elections just days away, today’s “Decoding DC” post brings you terms that are often thrown around during election season.

Jungle Primary
A jungle primary is a primary election where all of the candidates for a particular office run against each other, regardless of party affiliations. As a result, the two candidates that receive the most votes continue on to the general election. This type of primary often results in general election candidates from the same party running against each other. There is no separate nomination process for a jungle primary, often resulting in a wide-ranging field of candidates. Possibly the best example of this is the 135 candidates that ran for California Governor in 2003 during the recall of Governor Gray Davis that resulted in the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The process of redrawing a congressional district in order to enhance a group’s political power in the hopes of increasing the likelihood of retaining that congressional seat. Gerrymandering is often done in a “partisan” manner, or along racial lines. Partisan gerrymandering often ensures that voters of one party are placed in the same district. Racial gerrymandering seeks to empower or exclude racial minorities. Racial gerrymandering can result in “majority-minority” districts, where minority voters are in the majority.

Fusion Voting:
Where more than one political party can support a single candidate, resulting in a candidate’s name appearing on a ballot multiple times under different party affiliations. For example, a candidate for the Republican or Democratic party could be endorsed by the Green party, and appear in both places on the ballot. It is thought that this allows for minor parties to take a greater part in the election by displaying their support for major party candidates. Currently, 8 states employ fusion voting: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, and Vermont.