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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Gerrymandering is common practice across the country; both Democrats and Republicans do it--in both statehouse and congressional districts.
For years, the state has denied targeting voters by race and has admitted instead to practicing partisan gerrymandering by overtly favoring Republicans in drawing the districts.
For this reason, courts should focus not on whether partisan effects of partisan gerrymandering are excessive and go too far, but instead on the centrality of partisan purpose to the specific government decisionmaking in question.
Obama has hosted fundraisers for the effort, endorsed candidates in races the NDRC has targeted, and used his email list and social media profile to draw attention to the fight against gerrymandering. "In America, politicians shouldn't pick their voters," Obama said in a 2018 video promoting Holder's group.
Partisan gerrymandering generally occurs where the majority party intentionally draws districts to minimize the ability of the minority party to elect candidates.
So for now, partisan gerrymandering, in which politicians get to choose their voters rather than voters choose their representatives, will remain a fact of American political life.
These cases, however, did not directly deal with what we might consider "political malapportionment," more commonly known as gerrymandering. In Gaffney v.
The high court's resolution of the case could be a legal landmark, as the justices have not set constitutional limits on partisan gerrymandering. They came close to doing so in their 2004 Vieth v.
Rucho, a new gerrymandering case that will go before the Supreme Court this spring.
The Boston Globe compared the district's shape to a salamander; the combination of Gerry's name and that description stuck, and the term "gerrymandering" was born.
Gerrymandering happens here in New Hampshire, and we need to fix it.