Everything you need to know about gerrymandering

14 Cards

CURATED BY Andrew Prokop

2014-08-05 00:06:34 -0400

  1. What is gerrymandering?
  2. How does gerrymandering work?
  3. Who actually does the gerrymandering?
  4. Where does the term gerrymandering come from?
  5. How important is gerrymandering to Republican control of the House?
  6. Does gerrymandering cause political polarization?
  7. Are Republicans the only ones who gerrymander?
  8. What is racial gerrymandering?
  9. What are the most gerrymandered House delegations?
  10. In a fair electoral map, should vote share always match seat share?
  11. Are there reforms that can prevent gerrymandering?
  12. How do other countries handle redistricting?
  13. You didn't answer my question!
  14. What else should I read about gerrymandering?
  1. Card 1 of 14

    What is gerrymandering?

  2. Card 2 of 14

    How does gerrymandering work?

  3. Card 3 of 14

    Who actually does the gerrymandering?

  4. Card 4 of 14

    Where does the term gerrymandering come from?

  5. Card 5 of 14

    How important is gerrymandering to Republican control of the House?

  6. Card 6 of 14

    Does gerrymandering cause political polarization?

  7. Card 7 of 14

    Are Republicans the only ones who gerrymander?

  8. Card 8 of 14

    What is racial gerrymandering?

  9. Card 9 of 14

    What are the most gerrymandered House delegations?

    There's no one consensus metric that measures partisan gerrymandering, so different analysts disagree on which states are gerrymandered, and which aren't. Here are some states frequently mentioned as having particularly egregious Congressional delegations:

    1) Ohio: Republicans won 52% of the House vote in Ohio, yet they ended up winning 12 seats, to the Democrats' four.

    Screen_shot_2014-04-15_at_9

    Image: Ibagli

    All four Democrats won with 68% or more of the votes in their districts — and every Republican with a declared opponent won by relatively smaller margins, between 53% and 63%. This is a classic sign of gerrymandering — the Democratic vote was packed together in a few districts, and the Republican vote was spread out over many, while still having a clear advantage in most of them.

    2) Pennsylvania: The GOP controlled the redistricting process in 2011 and 2012, and it paid off for them in the US House results:

    Pa-us-house-map-2013_medium

    Map by PoliticsPA.com

    Democrats won 50.8% of House votes cast in Pennsylvania, yet the GOP ended up with 13 elected House members, and the Democrats only 5.

    3) Virginia: Republicans won 51% of the House votes cast in Virginia, and they ended up controlling 8 House seats to the Democrats' 3. All three Democrats won with more than 61% of the vote, but most Republicans won with margins in the mid-fifties.

    Screen_shot_2014-04-15_at_9

    National Atlas

    4) North Carolina A majority of its electorate voted for a Democratic House candidate, yet its House delegation is 9 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Note the snakelike gerrymandered districts 4 and 12 that cross the state here:

    Nc_gerry

    Screen_shot_2014-04-09_at_5
    Much of the state's Democrats are crammed into those top three districts that Democrats won by 48 points or more. Then, there are nine districts that Republicans managed to win fairly comfortably (6-26 points). Finally, there is one true swing district at the bottom, that could have gone to either party. This is a very successful partisan gerrymander, that managed to turn a Democratic-voting majority into a 9-4 Republican-dominated delegation.

    5) Maryland: Here, the Democrats were responsible for redistricting, and they ended up with 7 Democratic seats and 1 Republican seat. Note particularly the orange 3rd district in the middle of the state, that twists and turns. The New Republic called this "America's most gerrymandered district."

    Screen_shot_2014-04-15_at_4

    National Atlas

  10. Card 10 of 14

    In a fair electoral map, should vote share always match seat share?

  11. Card 11 of 14

    Are there reforms that can prevent gerrymandering?

  12. Card 12 of 14

    How do other countries handle redistricting?

  13. Card 13 of 14

    You didn't answer my question!

  14. Card 14 of 14

    What else should I read about gerrymandering?

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