do-it-yourself gerrymandering

If my packing the house post did not sufficiently explain how gerrymandering can, well, pack the house then perhaps the folks at the USC Game Innovation Lab and the USC Annenberg Center for Communications can do a better job.

They have developed a surprisingly fun game to demonstrate how to use redistricting to further political aims. They show how a political operative can draw districts to:

  • perform a partisan gerrymander that favors one party
  • perform a bipartisan gerrymander that favors multiple parties and ensures the reelection of incumbents
  • satisfy the requirements of the Voting Rights Act yet still achieve a partisan gerrymander

Additionally, and perhaps unintentionally, they show how a proposed reform can be shot down by those who have a political stake in the outcome.

You can play the game at http://www.redistrictinggame.org/. Warning: the game requires flash.

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7 responses to “do-it-yourself gerrymandering

  1. so what if i wanted to gerrymander for a specific niche, like get enough people into a voting area to get them to pressure government to vote yes on infrastructure subsidies.. could you hook me up?

  2. Michael, I think you missed the point.

  3. N,

    Rather than freeting about the negative implications of gerrymandering, why don’t we sit down and figure out how we can use it to our advantage?

  4. Michael,

    Although I am somewhat confident that you are joking I think that your comment does bring up part of the reality of gerrymandering. There is an attitude amoungst both major political parties that they have to play dirty because the other side plays dirty.

    For a reform to be enacted it ideally has to not offer an immediate partisan advantage.

    For example, the recent CA proposition regarding gerrymandering might have been a reasonable proposal, but one issue that I recall that it had was that it called for immediate redistricting (rather than waiting for the once-per-decade redistricting that is the current CA practice) which was perceived as giving the Republicans an advantage.

    [I reserve the right to be wrong about the recent CA gerrymandering prop; I have not done my research here but am instead relying on memory]

  5. Pingback: some proposed reforms to the problems of gerrymandering « All About Voting

  6. Pingback: Why Tuesday on the Redistricting Game « All About Voting

  7. Pingback: Do independent or bi-partisan commissions solve gerrymandering? « All About Voting

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