Answering 538′s Gerrymandering Question

Photo: Iowa Highway Ends (etc.) blog

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Political/statistical analysis website 538 says fixing gerrymandering is hard. At one point it resorts to a computer algorithm that completely ignores all jurisdictional boundaries in a quest to make “competitive” districts.

What if gerrymandering is a problem better solved by mathematicians and computer scientists than politicians and political scientists? What if we could move to a system that didn’t consider race or partisanship at all — one that had no pre-assigned winners and losers, costly litigation or drag-out fights in state capitals?

Yes, what if? What IF? If only we could find some place ordering

districts be convenient and contiguous, preserve the integrity of political subdivisions like counties and cities, and to the extent consistent with other requirements, reasonably compact.


Iowa’s 1980s congressional districts, the first drawn under a nonpartisan process. Complete series of maps here.

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