This one is a bit off-topic for this space, but it is an issue that I care about deeply. A recent piece by my local NPR station (WUNC) drew my attention.
Researchers in the Math Department at Duke University used a computer simulation to draw congressional districts in North Carolina and compare the outcomes to what actually happened in 2012 with the districts that were
gerrymandered carefully drawn by the General Assembly following the 2010 Census.
The results are not really surprising. The majority of state voters selected Democratic candidates for seats in the legislature, but the outcomes actually favored Republicans with more than twice as many of them winning their elections. The research showed that this does not match the “desires of the voters”.
It certainly seems like this tool can be useful for diagnosing the effects of gerrymandering. Maybe someday we’ll have a bipartisan commission to decide district boundaries.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia