Editorials: Can math solve the congressional districting problem? | Kevin Knudson/The Conversation

Lost amidst the frenzy of coverage of the Supreme Court’s rulings about the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage was a case involving the constitutionality of an independent commission to draw congressional districts in Arizona. Through a ballot measure in 2000, the state amended its constitution to create a nonpartisan group to draw up new districts; the ultimate goal is to reduce gerrymandering. Named for the salamander-shaped district drawn by Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry in 1812, gerrymandering occurs when a state legislature draws voting district lines in a manner that benefits the ruling party at the expense of the opposition. The goal is to consolidate power for the party in control, making it effectively impossible for the opposition to gain seats. Many state legislatures have engaged in this process recently, prompting grassroots movements advocating independent commissions to draw districts.

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