Using Math to Fight Gerrymandering

Matthew Leach

Gerrymandering is a common way for government officials to exploit the democratic voting system in the United States. Incumbents use the process of gerrymandering to unfairly carve up the districts in the United States to benefit their own political agendas. The issue of gerrymandering is becoming a growing threat to fair representation of citizens, especially with the expanding ideological divide between parties that plagues our nation. With methods such as packing and cracking districts, incumbents are managing to win districts without winning majorities of votes, an obvious rejection of the people‚Äôs desires. Historically, the determinants of whether gerrymandering was illegal or legal were left to be decided at the state level. In more recent times, gerrymandering cases are being pushed through to the Supreme Court. With the aid of many mathematicians, there are hopes to establish more efficient guidelines for redrawing districts which better represent the people. Using a combination of technology and mathematics such as algebra, probability, and geometry, it is becoming easier to identify when gerrymandering occurs. Through a few computational methods, fairness can be given a numerical value with respect to the shape, size, and inhabitants of the districts. 

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