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a term from electoral geography designating a particular way of arranging election districts in the USA. Gerrymandering violates the principle of equal representation, which demands that an equal number of voters be represented by an equal number of representatives. By gerrymandering election districts, the governing party creates districts with an unequal number of voters in order to concentrate the votes of the opposition party in one or at most several districts and thus to obtain an advantage in other districts. Gerrymandering also violates the territorial principle by creating oddly shaped districts.

The term “gerrymandering” arose in 1812, when a cartoonist drew such a district in Massachusetts in the shape of a salamander, and the newspaper editor called the drawing a gerrymander, after E. Gerry, the governor of the state at that time.

Although laws passed in the USA in 1842, 1872, and 1902 demand the creation of compact election districts, gerrymandering still continues.


References in periodicals archive ?
By implication, the judicial review of partisan gerrymandering is inescapably intertwined with the political nature of the redistricting process, giving any decisions a certain taint, a "dirtiness" that is typically associated with politics.
Perhaps the worst gerrymandering example in our region is Chelmsford.
Justice Powell in a dissent agreed with the majority opinion that district equality would advance gerrymandering and could cause significant voting dilution.
Justice Scalia wanted to dismiss the case, arguing that claims of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering do not present a justiciable case or controversy.
that the standard for judging partisan gerrymandering claims under the
The minister is considering a shoddy little gerrymandering stunt and her only consideration is whether or not it will give Labour a party advantage.
Porter and Weeks had appealed against an auditor's report which found them guilty of gerrymandering in the late 1980s.
Gerrymandering has been with us since the early 1800s; however, in today's computer era the capacity of legislators to gerrymander their districts using precise census data and polling has increased significantly.
From racial gerrymandering to preferences in government contracting to school desegregation, the government's arguments have been consistently rejected - both in the Supreme Court and in lower federal courts.
As justification, Walters says, they will claim majority white districts were not created for racial gerrymandering and are thus not covered by the ruling (and should not be changed).
The expanded use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has created both new potential for sophisticated gerrymandering and a possible means of implementing unbiased redistricting.
Such a split might also be a result of gerrymandering - the drawing of political districts to benefit one party's candidates.