A Visual Explanation of Gerrymandering

Randy Krum, Cool Infographics, Mar 01, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The diagram depicted here has been out for quite some time, but it has always bothered me in a way. The central message is correct - you can gerrymander electoral districts to produce a win based on a minority vote. But how can you have 'compact but unfair' distribution? It came back to me today. The real message of this infographic is: 'compact can be unfair'. I puzzled over it a bit, and then I realized: the 'compact' diagram isn't really compact! It shows five districts each 5 wide and two deep. That isn't compact at all! The most compact would be 3x3 grids plus 1. In a 10x5 region you couldn't get that exactly, but still you could keep most squares in a district within 3 of each other, as in my diagram, above. If I haven't lost you yet, the lesson is this: don't take these infographics for granted

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