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 ?
CHALLENGING THE gop's redistricting edge required a multipronged approach: Holder's group has filed or assisted a dozen lawsuits against gerrymandered maps, supported local candidates whose races had implications for redistricting, and backed state ballot measures to establish independent redistricting commissions.
(27.) Christopher Ingraham, "America's Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts," Washington Post, May 15, 2014, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/05/15/americas-most-gerrymandered-congressional-districts/.
"No matter what happens, no matter who's in the White House or what the national trends are or how much money you have, you just can't beat gerrymandered seats," said Eric Couto, executive director of Wisconsin Progress.
Because restrictive electoral rules, if they disproportionately affect the gerrymandered party's supporters, increase the vote share of the gerrymandering party.
At first glance, the Supreme Court's districts appear less gerrymandered than either the 2011 map or the proposed Republican replacement.
If the shoe were on the other foot--if Democrats were benefiting from partisan, gerrymandered districts--would Republicans suddenly become fans of the use of nonpartisan redistricting criteria, and would Democrats suddenly favor the status quo?
Instead, the political forces that favor gerrymandered districts could be kept in check by opposing commercial interests.
In individual gerrymandered states such as North Carolina or Pennsylvania, Democrats need to win by 15 percentage points or more to have a shot at taking a majority.
They also argued that the Act contained plans that were gerrymandered to serve political purposes and to dilute the voting strength of women and political and ethnic minorities.
They represent Congressional districts that have been so shamelessly gerrymandered by state legislatures that it is almost impossible for anybody who is a Republican to lose an election there.
BRUNELL, REDISTRICTING AND REPRESENTATION: WHY COMPETITIVE ELECTIONS ARE BAD FOR AMERICA 32-34 (2008) (asserting that voters in gerrymandered districts are more satisfied with the results of an election because the voters are more likely to have their preferred candidate win); JUSTIN BUCHLER, HIRING AND FIRING PUBLIC OFFICIALS: RETHINKING THE PURPOSE OF ELECTIONS 145-46 (2011) (arguing that bipartisan gerrymandering produces districts with more homogeneous constituencies; allowing elected officials to represent the interests and policies of a larger portion of their constituency than in a competitive district); Justin Buchler, Resolved, The Redistricting Process Should Be Nonpartisan: Con, in DEBATING REFORM 161-71 (Richard J.