Category Archives: gerrymandering

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 Warning: the game requires flash.

packing the house – how are those districts drawn?

A district-based system for choosing representatives has issues in-and-of-itself. Those issues become applified when you ask the questions “who draws the districts?” and “how often are districts redrawn?”.

All too often the answers to these questions indicates systematic abuse of power by those that are in power. In the US both the Republicans and the Democrats have a long history of abusing redistricting.

In fact, it goes back to before these parties existed. Consider Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts.

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