A Visual Explanation of Gerrymandering

Randy Krum, Cool Infographics, Mar 01, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes
files/images/Gerrymandering_Washington_Post.png

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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