The “Efficiency Gap” and Gerrymandering

As mentioned in a post last month, I’m very interested in addressing gerrymandering, the political practice of dividing up voting districts in a way that would befuddle the designers of Tetris.

Last month, I highlighted Brian Olson’s algorithm to make voting districts more compact. However, in this article by Erica Klarreich, she suggests that a district’s compactness is not the sole criterion for gerrymandering and talks more about ways to address the problem. Hopefully, this means there’s more examples of quantitative methods that can be used. Yes, this won’t convince people who are already convinced they’ll do whatever it takes to maintain the status quo (which, in gerrymandered terms, is spelled “uqat us sto”), However, it aids in making their efforts look more ridiculous, which always helps.

Update on Virginia efforts:
In both another example of the straightforward language used by Richmond Sunlight and yet another object lesson in reading information even more closely, SJ231, the transmogrified bill to try and be sort of bipartisan in how Virginia does redistricting, has failed. In fact, it had failed when I wrote the original post, but I didn’t realize it. When I looked up the information on the official government system, it looked like it had passed, but it really had been “passed by indefinitely” which is legalese for “successfully killed.”

Time to focus on the 2017 Virginia elections…

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