52

This is a rather simple mathematical exercise. If you allow me total freedom to draw districts within the current requirements, I can place anyone in any district I want provided they have equal population in the end. Connectedness in two dimensions is not enough of a barrier to stop this. In that case, my best bet is to fill as many districts as possible ...


45

"Disproportionate representation" describes the result without making any reference to the cause. For example, States have disproportionate representation in the Senate is a perfectly reasonable description. If you want to be more specific as to what kind of proportionality you're talking about, you could specify with States have disproportionate ...


39

Yes. Currently gerrymandering has no effect on US Senators. However, before the ratification of the 17th amendment to Constitution, Senators were elected/chosen by the state legislature. The state legislature, including its senators(at least in my state), have and have had districts. So, since gerrymandering started "officially" in 1812 and since the 17th ...


28

What does it mean that North Carolina's maps were thrown out but new ones weren't ordered drawn? It means that until the legislature redraws the Congressional districts to satisfy the court's requirements, there will be delays in the 2020 elections for Congressional seats. This is a rather detailed article from the local newspaper, The News & Observer, ...


20

While the state-wide nature of gerrymandering would make one think that it has no effect, it certainly could. Elections are run at the state level, so a state-gerrymandered election could alter that balance of power in the state legislature, which would effect things like voter-suppression measures, enactment and enforcement of campaign finance regulations, ...


17

The problem here is that "one person one vote" can be based on residents rather than citizens or voters. So if you could assign people purely arbitrarily, you could fill up your districts with non-voters such that only a small number of voters are required. In theory, one voter and eight hundred thousand non-voters per district would work. Pack all the ...


16

Technically, Gerrymandering is illegal, in the United States, per Karcher v. Daggett (1983) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The problem is that what you may consider gerrymandering is not something that an impartial court can technically say. As Tom Delay found out in in Texas in 2003, one can still get a lot of what others would call gerrymandering past ...


16

One alternative is to let a totally impartial computer decide, based purely on census data and geography, with no details about the political (or other) makeup of the population. Brian Olsen's open source census-based B-districting algorithm aims for: Across all districts and all people, The best district map is the one where people have the lowest ...


15

Gerrymandering is surprisingly easy to avoid as long as the people in power are willing to make it that way, but if they're only in power because of gerrymandering you can have issues. Using a algorithm to calculate the lines is one way to do it, but not the only way and not necessarily even the best way (algorithms tend to happily do things like cutting a ...


15

One attempt that many states in the United States are trying to adopt is to take the power for creating districts out of the hands of elected political officials. Today, in most states the districts are drawn by the state assemblies and obviously they will draw the boundaries in the most advantageous way for their own party's reelection. This became even ...


15

Yes, everyone complains about gerrymandering when the gerrymandering doesn't help them. To answer your questions specifically, there is an ongoing case in Maryland where the Democrats are accused of using gerrymandering to unseat Republican representative Roscoe Bartlett.


15

The above examples are correct that current gerrymandering does not have an effect on US Senators. However, the division of territory into states itself has been alleged to be a consequence of gerrymandering, specifically in the late 19th Century the Republican party ensured that more states were created in territories friendly to their party, notable ...


14

How did gerrymandering evolve from a practice applied by one senator in Massachusetts to something commonly applied across the US? Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts is normally considered the inspiration for the term. He was not a Senator but a governor. And he was not the source of the practice (even in Massachusetts in 1812, he only agreed with ...


13

Are North Carolina's districts extremely common sense? You can look for yourself - the colors designate each district. Other than 2 and 4, they look pretty common sense and even those aren't particularly egregious by the (admittedly low) standard of east coast state congressional districts. Just based on looking at them and how they interact with municipal ...


12

The recent Supreme Court ruling on this specific case is available. In this instance the court was split 5-4 along Conservative/Liberal lines. The majority opinion states that Partisan Gerrymandering is outside the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the conservative 5-4 majority in Rucho v. Common Cause, admitted ...


12

This ruling is a preliminary injunction, not a final ruling on the case. In other words, the judges' ruling prevents North Carolina from using the maps to hold elections, but is not a ruling throwing them out (which cannot happen without a trial). From AP news The panel of three Superior Court judges issued a preliminary injunction preventing elections ...


10

Historically, there are two competing principles at work in figuring out districts: You want about the same population in each district This principle was enshrined in US Court law in Baker v. Carr an Wesberry v. Sanders. Malapportionment is inherently unfair. You want communities of interest not to be divided. That said, there is something to be said ...


10

Yes, it definitely could happen. The mathematical version of gerrymandering is easily expressed in integer programming, as shown here (for people who like MIPs). In its simplest version (without geographical considerations and vote uncertainty), the gerrymandering problem amounts to a simple partitionning problem. Let us assume you are a daredevil (there ...


10

The shortest term I can come up with for this result is "sovereign states are entitled to their own opinions and interests." The error in your judgement is the assumption that US States are arbitrary lines drawn on a map, and that the apparent disconnect between the ideological makeup of the Senate is just as arbitrary as the makeup of gerrymandered ...


10

Despite the potential ambiguity, "territorial representation" seems to be a generic term used for this (see quotes toward the end of my post). In the US, the equal territorial (=state) representation in the Senate is known as the Connecticut Compromise The Connecticut Compromise (also known as the Great Compromise of 1787 or Sherman Compromise) was an ...


9

Gerrymandering is the act of redefining borders between voting districts in order to gain a political advantage. The practice is named after the US politician Elbridge Gerry, who was the governor of Massachusetts from 1810 to 1812. In 1812 he redefined the voting districts of Massachusetts. After that reform, one voting district had roughly the shape of a ...


8

Has the Republican party ever seen the same sort of disparity that is quoted in the above Reuters article on Wisconsin? Despite receiving 51 percent of the votes statewide in 2012, Democrats won only 39 of 99 Assembly seats. In 2014, Republicans won roughly the same percentage of votes statewide, but won 63 seats, a 24-seat disparity, judges wrote. ...


8

You'll have to ask K Dog. The question was about city elections, so all these answers about states' gerrymandering of congressional districts are irrelevant. Here is what he was responding to: "With the aim of explaining changes in electoral rules adopted by U.S. cities, particularly in the South, we show why majorities tend to adopt 'winner-take-all' city-...


7

It did happen. In the US in 2006, the Democrats took the House of Representatives after twelve years of Republican control. Four years later the Republicans took back the House. Both were wave elections (34 seats in 2006 and 64 in 2010). Then there was a redistricting, which Democrats complain that Republicans gerrymandered. Republicans then lost seats ...


7

The AEC is headed by a Commission consisting of three people appointed by the Special Minister of State: a chairperson, who must be a current or retired judge of the Federal Court selected from a list of three nominees given by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court a non-judicial member, who is almost always the Australian Statistician (the head of the ...


7

Gerrymandering is the big one. Maryland is two-thirds Democrat and one-third Republican, and in the 2010 redistricting, Democrats offset several large Republican-dominated rural areas by scooping up just enough of Baltimore to have a Democrat majority, creating absolutely crazy district lines. They then packed a district with all Republicans. This had the ...


6

It falls to the entire "voters choosing legislators vs legislators choosing their voters" meme. If there is an objective criteria for drawing boundaries in a logical, geometrically simple method, then, for the most part, where I choose to locate my residence is my decision about what voting district I wish to inhabit. If a district's boundaries are drawn ...


6

Pegden, Procaccia, and Yu have proposed a really cool new method for districting from game theory. In a 2 party system, a pretty fair solution can be reached using a method deriving from the simple concept of "I cut, you choose." A 2/5/18 Washington Post article describes the solution as follows: The first party divides the state into eight districts (in ...


6

A candidate: Lectures delivered before the American Institution of Instruction, Boston, August, 1841, pg 186 The young should be prepared , by their education , to choose their rulers , and not be left in such ignorance as that the rulers shall choose their voters .


5

When courts draw maps, do they gerrymander? Courts do not draw maps, though they have authority to invalidate maps drawn. 2 U.S. Code ยง 2c. Number of Congressional Districts; number of Representatives from each District In each State entitled in the Ninety-first Congress or in any subsequent Congress thereafter to more than one Representative under an ...


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