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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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gerrymandering

This computer programmer solved gerrymandering in his spare time

We could take human error out of the redistricting process entirely. Why don’t we?

Source: www.washingtonpost.com

This computer programmer (code word in the newspapers for geographers using GIS) has created a way to take the human element out of the redistricting process.  Dividing places into separate, formal regions is an important task, one that often times requires an intimate knowledge of the place, it’s cultural, economic and physical characteristics.  That’s how I would want things to been done in a perfect world, but partisan chicanery has led to so many gerrymandered districts that the human touch is what many of us fear more than a cold, impersonal division that does not take place, history, and community into account.    

 

Questions to Ponder: Do you trust the politicians that are in charge of your state to create better districts than computer-generated districts that are optimized for compactness?  What are some of the potential limitations of compact districts?  Would an independent committee/bipartisan group do a better job? How does the Voting Rights Act complicate the redistricting process?    

 

Tags: gerrymandering, politicalmapping, cartography, GIS, unit 4 political.

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Bill aims to ‘take politics’ out of drawing district lines

A Democratic state senator in South Carolina wants to end the practice of lawmakers choosing who votes for them. The senator introduced a bill Wednesday that would create an independent commission to draw the state’s political districts. Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature now control that process. South Carolina voters would approve or reject the boundaries of new political districts in a statewide referendum if the bill becomes law. The state redraws its political boundaries for South Carolina House, state Senate and U.S. House seats after each 10-year U.S. Census [the next Census is in 2020].”

Source: www.thestate.com

While it may be laudable to try eliminate partisan gerrymandering, this bill is going nowhere.  Still, it is an important issue to discuss. 

 

Questions to Ponder: What is the difference between the terms redistricting and gerrymandering?  Why won’t this bill pass? 

What is the fairest way to divide districts?

 

Tags: gerrymandering, political, census, unit 4 political.

Judges Find Wisconsin Redistricting Unfairly Favored Republicans

A federal panel called the 2011 redrawing of Wisconsin Assembly districts an unconstitutional gerrymander, ruling in a case that could go to the Supreme Court.

Source: www.nytimes.com

The redistricting process is far from neutral; to be fair we should remember that gerrymandering has happened on all ends of the political spectrum, depending on who is charge during the redistricting process (after the decennial census).  Which map to you think is the best way to divide these districts?  What is the fairest way to divide them?

Tags: gerrymandering, political, mapping, census, unit 4 political.

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