The mathematics of gerrymandering

The mathematics of gerrymandering

The mathematics of gerrymandering

11/08/16

“What is political gerrymandering and how does it work?”

In honor of election here in the United States, I thought that it would be reasonable to do my part and use my scientific skills to explain the mathematics behind a political process known as gerrymandering.

First of all, for those of you unfamiliar with the American political system, the political map of the United States during elections is divided into “districts” of where around 500,000 people will live. People in this area vote for which political party they want, and at the end of the day whoever obtains the largest amount of votes will win the entire district! So in an ideal world, each district will be drawn so that it would fairly represent the population. In this way, political representation would be completely fair. However, individuals who are in power have the power to redraw these districts during times of census, allowing them to manipulate things in to a way that would represent their own interests. For example, let’s imagine a state with 2 million people, half of them voting for one party and half of them voting for another. If all of the districts were drawn to fairly represent this population, then the vote would be split evenly among 4 districts. However, if the districts were redrawn so that three of them would contain even a majority for one party and only one district would contain a majority for another, then the first party will win by a landslide! This issue is more than just a theory, it is a very real thing, and please take action as a citizen and do your part to make sure that the political system can be fair for everyone. And as always, a little bit of knowledge of mat can go a long way.

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