I've been writing a paper about Gerrymandering, but whilst reading about Electoral Districts, I started to wonder. Isn't it the same as the electoral Colleges?
The Electoral College is the body of 538 delegates representing the electoral points each State has. These delegates cast their votes in the general election for president and almost always vote the way their state voted. This is what was making the news following Trump's victory because many people were hoping delegates would change their vote to Clinton.
The Electoral Districts, also referred to as Congressional Districts, are the carved out subdivisions in each State that have representation in the House of Representatives. Gerrymandering is used to redraw the districts for various political and logistical reasons.
Isn't it the same as the electoral Colleges?
There is only one electoral college. It is made up of electors. There is one elector for each member of Congress plus three more for the District of Columbia. So each state has two more electors than it has federal electoral districts. That's a hundred three more electors in the college than federal electoral districts.
Gerrymandering can't affect the electoral college outside of Maine and Nebraska. Most states award all their electors to the statewide plurality winner, so the district results don't matter. Maine and Nebraska award two electors to the statewide winner (for the Senators) and one to the winner of each congressional district (for the House Representatives). In 2008, Barack Obama won one elector in Nebraska. In 2016, Donald Trump won one elector in Maine.
It's possible that redistricting had some impact, but it's not certain. We'd have to know how it would have otherwise been redistricted. There are many options, even if we know the basic approach. For example, a minimal approach might shift just enough people from the higher population district to the lower population district. But which people? Basically any border region with approximately the right population would do.
When comparing, they often compare the new district to the old district. But many times, the old district was no longer available, as population changes unbalanced the districts. In some states, they may add or remove federal districts through apportionment. Every ten years, the federal government takes a census and assigns each state how many House districts it gets. Sometimes they stay the same (as in both Maine and Nebraska after the 2010 census). Sometimes they change, either decreasing (Iowa after 2010) or increasing (Arizona).
Electoral districts can be used to refer to three different things. First, it can refer to federal congressional districts. Second, it can be used to refer to the districts for the lower chamber of the state legislature (or the only chamber in some states). Third, the upper chamber can also be redistricted in those states that have two. Any of these can be gerrymandered and the latter two control their own redistricting (in aggregate, not individually), possibly in concert with the governor.