Mathematicians Could Help In Gerrymandering Legal Cases

Legal fights over racial and partisan gerrymandering are intensifying and mathematicians think they can help. Specialists in geometry are training to become expert witnesses in redistricting cases around the country.

My story aired this week on NPR’s All Things Considered.

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~ by Ari Daniel on August 19, 2017.

One Response to “Mathematicians Could Help In Gerrymandering Legal Cases”

  1. I’m a scientist and numerate, but trying to fix gerrymandering with math is a bit like worrying about lead poisoning when you’ve been shot. You will die of blood loss long before the heavy metal does its job, and frankly, redistricting is a distraction from the political deathwatch that is breaking faith with democracy.

    Basically, any geographically limited voting district can never be fair to all voting groups simultaneously, and puts the government in the untenable position of preferring one community of interest over another when drawing boundaries. The voting *system* is the problem, not the shape of the edges. Other countries have adopted more representative methods- I prefer a cumulative voting system with slates:

    http://www.genuineideas.com/ArticlesIndex/gerrymandering.html

    but there are many others in use throughout the world. These systems are harder to “game” and their legislative bodies are more closely aligned with the electorate. The flaws with our district-based, geographically anointed Congress are well known. But we lack the political will to make the necessary structural changes.

    There is little chance SCOTUS will use Gill v Whitford to set a bold precedent. Any improvement should be celebrated, but we need to focus on stopping the bleeding while our democracy still breaths.

    Like

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