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Issue 32

Common Forms of Gerrymandering in the United States

Alex Keena
Virginia Commonwealth University

Michael Latner
The Union of Concerned Scientists and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Anthony McGann
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Charles Smith
Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine

(32) Decyzje

DOI 10.7206/DEC.1733-0092.130


Gerrymandering is a form of voting manipulation whereby electoral district boundaries are drawn to produce a partisan or political bias in elections. In this paper, we study partisan gerrymandering in the United States to understand its undemocratic outcomes and how the design of election institutions can promote or prevent gerrymandering. We begin with a survey of the history of gerrymandering, with a particular focus on partisan
gerrymandering. We then consider the normative standards of fairness in democracy that partisan gerrymandering may violate. Next, we present a typology of partisan gerrymandering based upon the district maps drawn in California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New Jersey for the 2012 elections. Using the partisan symmetry method, we estimate the seats/votes curves of the congressional maps used in 38 states during the 2012 elections. We find that partisan gerrymanders occur almost exclusively when politicians are given control over redistricting. This analysis implies that a political
designer, who wants to minimize gerrymandering, should not put redistricting in the hands of politicians.


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APA style

Keena, Alex & Latner, Michael & McGann, Anthony J. & Smith, Charles Anthony (2019). Common Forms of Gerrymandering in the United States. (2019). Common Forms of Gerrymandering in the United States. Decyzje, (32). https://doi.org/10.7206/DEC.1733-0092.130

MLA style

Keena, Alex and Latner, Michael and McGann, Anthony J. and Smith, Charles Anthony. “Common Forms Of Gerrymandering In The United States”. Decyzje, no. 32, 2019.

Chicago style

Keena, Alex and Latner, Michael and McGann, Anthony J. and Smith, Charles Anthony. “Common Forms Of Gerrymandering In The United States”. Decyzje, Decyzje, no. 32 (2019). doi:10.7206/DEC.1733-0092.130.