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, and extremely irregular boundary lines are sometimes necessary to obtain the results desired. The term has also been used to describe the similar creation of voting districts to favor the election of a candidate from a specific racial or ethnic group. The U.S. Supreme Court has placed (1964) the vague limit of "compact districts of contiguous territory" on such apportionment schemes, and also has reversed redistricting where there is evidence of racially based gerrymandering. 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 ?
(30) Republican Party operatives ran sophisticated computer models designed to maximize the number of Republicans in Texas's congressional delegation, and the Republican-controlled Texas legislature introduced a gerrymander named "Plan 1374C." (31)
(23) Writing in part for a Court majority, (24) in part for a plurality, (25) and in part for himself, (26) Justice Kennedy relied on Bandemer to rule that an equal protection challenge to a political gerrymander presented a justiciable case or controversy, although he conceded that the Court could not agree on a substantive standard.
The term "gerrymander" was coined in 1812 to describe a set of districts that resembled a salamander drawn by Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry.
gerrymander is often reported as the meticulously crafted districting
Yet at the same time that the high court is accepting partisan gerrymanders, it has undercut efforts to diversify legislatures through redistricting.
Each political party privately uses redistricting software to identify a gerrymandered plan that benefits it and then submits this plan to the redistricting commission.
The original gerrymander's impact (or, more appropriately, the lack thereof) is especially instructive for present-day analysis of redistricting and representation.
The NDRC invested $350,000 in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, hoping that a liberal majority on the seven-member court might strike down any egregious gerrymanders in the next round of redistricting in 2021.
(18) As explained below, Jackman suggested these thresholds because they coincided roughly with a gerrymander of one congressional district.
Justice John Paul Stevens expressed this well when he stated in a dissent: "[The] danger of a partisan gerrymander is that the representative will perceive that the people who put her in power are those who drew the map rather than those who cast ballots, and she will feel beholden not to a subset of her constituency, but to no part of her constituency at all.
With an election looming, courts earlier this year declared congressional districts in two states to be unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. One map was redrawn.
(27) Andrew Gelman and Gary King, the best-known proponents of partisan bias, write that they seek to measure "the degree to which an electoral system unfairly favors one political party in the translation of statewide (or nationwide) votes into the partisan division of the legislature." (28) Michael McDonald and Robin Best, two of the most prominent advocates of the mean-median difference, state that "[t]he fact of a gerrymander is evident when ...