gerrymander


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gerrymander

(jĕr`ēmăn'dər, gĕr–), in politics, rearrangement of voting districts so as to favor the party in power. The objective is to create as many districts as possible in areas of known support and to concentrate the opposition's strength into as few districts as possible. Extremely irregular boundary lines are sometimes necessary to obtain the results desired. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has placed (1964) the vague limit of "compact districts of contiguous territory" on such apportionment schemes. The origin of the term, though by no means the origin of the practice, was in such an arrangement made by the Massachusetts Jeffersonians when Elbridge GerryGerry, Elbridge
, 1744–1814, American statesman, Vice President of the United States, b. Marblehead, Mass. He was elected (1772) to the Massachusetts General Court, where he became a follower of Samuel Adams, who enlisted him in the colonial activities preceding the
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 was governor.

Bibliography

See E. C. Griffith, The Rise and Development of the Gerrymander (1907, repr. 1974).

gerrymander

political chicanery aimed at acquiring votes. [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 199]
References in periodicals archive ?
The strategy for a partisan gerrymander after the Reapportionment Revolution is the "pack-and-crack" approach, so named for the way that disadvantaged party voters are grouped.
Grofman and Brunell refer to such a backfired attempt at a partisan gerrymander as a "dummymander," and the potential for a dummymander means that under an equal population standard, a party must be willing to absorb a certain level of risk in order to take partisan advantage of drawing district lines.
The Supreme Court avoided the gerrymander appointment issue for the reason that there were no reliable standards or constitutional criterion to determine how election districts should be fairly drawn.
The six member majority agreed that a claim of an unconstitutional gerrymander required proof of "both intentional discrimination against an identifiable political group and an actual discriminatory effect on that group.
Moving to the district-specific gerrymander claims, the Court held that the Texas legislature's redrawing of District 23 violated section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
definition of a gerrymander echoes Justice Stewart's infamous
185) Because there is value in redistricting that corrects for variations in voting behavior over time, forcing a state to adhere to a redistricting scheme that does not map onto voter preferences undermines the structural protection that sites receive from their ability to gerrymander.
5 public hearing had been closed, represents a brazen attempt to gerrymander the north Eugene district - that is, to redraw the boundaries for political advantage.
plan resembles the most egregious racial gerrymanders of the past.
Even when contrived by federal gerrymanders, the election of minority candidates has probably raised many minority voters' political consciousnesses and carries a symbolic importance essential to democratic politics.
So the search for a standard goes on, but partisan gerrymanders remain subject to judicial attack.