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 ?
Districts with concavities and protuberances tend to have longer perimeters and are deemed more gerrymandered than equivalent-sized districts with smoother boundaries and shorter perimeters.
Nevada, Nebraska and Indiana were the least gerrymandered.
A districting scheme meant to ensure the election of legislators who are utterly devoted to child welfare or peace is a gerrymandered districting plan, notwithstanding the widespread support these objectives might enjoy.
The statement in favor of the proposed amendment published in the state's election pamphlet declared that the new Board was "intended to produce balanced, professionally-drawn redistricting plans," and would replace a procedure that "has produced redistricting plans which have been subject to criticism of being partisan and gerrymandered rather than creating redistricting plans based on bipartisan fairness and objectivity.
And even if this were the claim, gerrymandered districts offer greater numbers of voters such an opportunity.
States aren't gerrymandered, but the famous red-and-blue maps of political leanings show how predictable most states have become in a close national race because of greater partisan cohesion among voters.
In other words, federal courts could hear cases and consider whether a gerrymandered redistricting plan was an unacceptable intrusion on a voter's, or group of voters,' rights.
For blacks in gerrymandered districts, elections are usually determined in Democratic primaries.
At times, the clash of race and politics in the United States approaches the intensity of South Africa; yet the United States continues to use a 200-year-old system that routinely denies representation to its racial and political minorities, unless one can draw a gerrymandered district around them--not always an easy task, and always a controversial one.
The history lesson derived from the past decade of experiences with the Medicare prospective payment system reveals that the definition of special geographic areas for the purposes of reimbursement results in a gerrymandered, patchwork approach in the health care payment system.
And, ironically, the initial signs are that the newly gerrymandered districts may actually hurt those who most eagerly lobbied for them: minorities and Republicans.
The white paper ranks the ten most gerrymandered local, state, and federal districts in the country based on four different measures of compactness.