January 22, 2014
Gerrymandering is defined as the establishment of boundaries of voting districts with the main objective of determining the partial or complete outcome of elections. Gerrymanders are designed with the main objective of insuring the defeat of specific individuals or electing political allies. There are a number of objectives of gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is usually carried out in order to allow for the reelection of incumbents or for the party in power to win more seats in an election than the number to which its percentage of the total vote properly entitles it. This only serves to subvert the will of the people since it denies them the amount of voting power that they are entitled to (Clark 13). Gerrymandering is practiced at all levels of the government where there are electoral districts that have single members including country councils, city councils, legislatures, and many others. The beneficiaries of gerrymandering are usually the incumbent elected officials and their political parties (Weaver 99). There are various means by which the electoral districts can be gerrymandered. This can be achieved through the splitting or dilution of the concentrations on the other side with the main objective of leaving a minority in as many districts as possible. It can also be achieved by concentrating and packing the other side in as few districts as possible in a manner that allows most of their voters to be wasted while creating many districts that have moderate margins for your side. Gerrymandering can be achieved by placing the incumbents of the other side in the same districts that have been revisited. This is also possible through the creation of multimember districts where one’s party is in the majority (Merrill 486). In the US, the states are mandated by the constitution to redraw their districts every 10 years depending on the latest population census data. The gerrymandering process allows the...
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New York Times. “Gerrymandering, pure and corrupt, 2009”, Accessed from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/opinion/12thu1.html?_r=0
Snider, J.H. “It will take a con-con to untangle Maryland’s gerrymanders, 2012”, Accessed from http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/it-will-take-a-con-con-to-untangle-marylands-gerrymanders/2012/02/09/gIQAMRYv4Q_story.html
Weaver Russell. “Gerrymandering politics out of the redistricting process: Toward a planning revolution in redrawing local legislative boundaries”, Berkeley Planning Journal, 25(1) (2012): 98 – 123.
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