Talk:Gerrymandering

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Add Current Example in the United Kingdom - Reducing Housing Benefits in London[edit]

I think you must add the UK to your list of examples: the current Conservative government is attempting to manipulate the electorate (particularly in London) by capping the maximum amount of Housing Benefit they will pay to the unemployed - no longer able to afford the rents charged in London, it is an attempt to clear the capital of 'socialist' types,and ensure the Conservative Party always remain in control of the Capital, and can influence selection of the Mayor, regardless of the party in overall control in Government. Also referred to as 'Social Cleansing' e.g. see <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17821018> 79.70.235.31 (talk) 03:22, 18 December 2012 (UTC)twl79.70.235.31 (talk) 03:22, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Create new article on Gerrymandering in the United States?[edit]

We should shorten this article my creating a new main article for Gerrymandering in the United States. Move the current discussion of US Gerrymandering there. The content of the current section on Computer Redistricting probably belongs in the US section.--Fagles 16:53, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree, however some of that content in the computer tech section might best be simply deleted. An article on Gerrymandering in the US could also talk about more specific examples, such as California and Texas. We should keep some section on Gerrymandering in the US, in the main article, however, since it's so illustrative of the phenomenon and the US is probably the most prominant case of gerrymandering in the democratic world. Scott Ritchie 07:19, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
I disagree in principle that it should have it's own page. However, having it's own specific section, definitely a good idea. While watching some of the political shows today on voting day in the US, saw a map of one of the Carolinas, and that was hacked up like you wouldn't believe. The problem is, if you keep it on this page, what Gerrymandering in the US is doing, has been done, etc. would take up a huge amount of space, mostly because the practice is so pervasive. 69.182.192.223 (talk) 21:49, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

You can add this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California%27s_46th_congressional_district classical Gerrymandering in year 2003-2013. I was living in this district and look like classical phone: Pick your phone and call your Representative. Was too long travel by bike from one side to another by reality: Do you want know my district? It is one day bike trip. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.166.104.221 (talk) 19:59, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Britishism?[edit]

As far as I can tell from WP guidelines, WP is not U.K.-English or U.S.-English by global default, but U.S.-English for U.S. topics and U.K.-English for European topic. This article consistently uses the ending ise vs. ize, so it looks like U.K. English. However, it seems to be about politics in the U.S. This would imply changing these spellings to the U.S. convention. If a U.S. article is broken out, it should be changed and the remainder left alone. I hesitate to make this change unilaterally. I'd appreciate guidance. Donfbreed (talk) 08:27, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

I would say change it to North American English, since the word originated in the US... but the person who created the article was British (in 2002)... ask for an RfC. 70.24.248.23 (talk) 01:22, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Removed confusing simplification of US courts' treatment of redistricting[edit]

In the U.S., Federal judges found redistricting legal. They wrote in their opinion that using computers made redistricting for political partisan advantage easier.

It's unclear what this was referring to. Of course "redistricting" is legal. Gerrymandering is sometimes ok and sometimes not. As discussed elsewhere in the article, US Courts strike down blatantly racial gerrymanders, but decline to strike down even unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders because they think courts are unable to tell when partisan gerrymanders violate equal protection (see Vieth v. Jubelirer)

I believe that the problem is this: the concept and actual practice of Gerrymandering destroys the ideals that (at least in the U.S.) were put here to protect the country. I am sure it has been used to that effect elsewhere as well, I just don't know, and don't have the documentation to back it up. To me at least, there is no "good" gerrymandering, whether it is legal or not is a fine point, but I believe (again, speaking only for my view of the U.S. where I live) that practice is helping to destroy the system, and is not Constitutional. 69.182.192.223 (talk) 21:55, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Removed text that was oversimplifying the US supreme court case Easley vs Cromartie[edit]

However, the United States Supreme Court, in the case of Easley v. Cromartie in April 2001, ruled that gerrymandering for the purpose of increasing or reducing the influence of political party is not illegal. Justice Stephen Breyer, in his majority opinion, stated: "[evidence] does not show that racial considerations predominated in the drawing of District 12's boundaries. That is because race closely correlates with political behavior." The opinion blurred the line between race-based redistricting and politics-based redistricting, saying that in this case, it was unclear that the first was the cause, rather than the latter.

Hunt v. Cromartie (not Easley v. Cromartie) was a case in which the Supreme Court ruled that a particular district was permissible because it was a political gerrymander and not a racial one. However, I think the principle itself was established in a much earlier case. Also if you read the decision is really didn't blur the distinction because it outlined a number of criteria for determining which is which. (Basically the criteria is that if you have a choice are you excluding black Republicans or including white Democrats, and NC was able to show that the new district included large numbers of white Democrats.) DanKeshet 18:25, Feb 11, 2004 (UTC)

Removed text that was oversimplifying multi-member districts[edit]

This is a very strong oversimplication of a complex situation:

It was decisive in the elimination of multi-member districts in the United States electoral system as candidates realized they could gain "safe" seats by controlling the boundaries to include supporters and exclude opponents. Simultaneously, minorities, especially African-Americans, realized that their strong constituency in cities was being politically diluted for lack of "safe" seats of their own in one inner city district.

The United States has traditionally not had multi-member districts, and there are a long and complicated set of court decisions as to when multi-member districts are permissible. DanKeshet 18:25, Feb 11, 2004 (UTC)

OK, but aren't the things described happening, e.g. in Texas? I must re-read the article to see if they're discussed. Mr. Jones 14:54, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Actually, Georgia haa a long history of multi-member districts in their state house which they used for racial gerrymandering. In addition, they revived it following the 2000 census for politicial gerrymandering purposes. (The plan was later thrown out.)

Removed assertions about automatic generation of "fair" boundaries[edit]

Many Electoral Reform packages advocate fixed or neutrally defined district borders to eliminate this manipulation. One such scheme of neutrally defined district borders is bioregional democracy which follows the borders of terrestrial ecoregions as defined by ecology, in the hope that such scientific criteria would be immune to politically motivated manipulation.

I'm about to remove this material not because it's inappropriate, but because I don't think it's true. If somebody could point me to some of these proposals, we could make this paragraph more concrete. For now, I'll move the link to bioregional democracy down to the see also. DanKeshet 18:25, Feb 11, 2004 (UTC)

In Pour la Science, April 2002, algorithmic districting procedures are discussed. David.Monniaux 20:47, 24 May 2004 (UTC)

Iowa's independent redistricting board[edit]

Not exactly the same thing, but in Iowa, they use a nonpartisan redistricting board to come up with neutral districts. Is that helpful? Meelar 20:49, 24 May 2004 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with Iowa's procedures. How nonpartisan is this board? How is it chosen? David.Monniaux 20:59, 24 May 2004 (UTC)

Gerymander or Gerrymandering?[edit]

The article should be under the title Gerrymander not gerrymandering, in accordance with standard naming procedure. STÓD/ÉÍRE 00:26 Apr 10, 2003 (UTC)

Why was this moved from Gerrymandering? The title of an article should be the noun form, not the verb. If there are no objections, I will move it back Deus Ex 17:58, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

If the title should be a noun, then the current title (Gerrymander) is correct—see the last sentence of the article's first paragraph. It may be that the first paragraph should be rewritten to reflect the new title.
Above, User:Jtdirl says that the title should be "Gerrymander" for the very same reason. However, I don't see any such prescription on Wikipedia:Naming conventions. It merely says to use the singular if the title is a noun and the gerund if the title is a verb, in which case, both titles are equally acceptable.
The article suggests that the word was first coined as a noun. But in my experience, it is in much more common usage today as a verb (an observation which holds true in the article itself). So I'd say there are reasonable arguments in favor of either title. Triskaideka 18:29, 22 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Well, a Google test shows 66,300 hits for 'gerrymandering' and 24,700 for 'gerrymander'. I think most encyclopaedias would have an article under 'gerrymandering' as well, for example Britannica does. Deus Ex 12:37, 24 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Controversial yes, Corrupt no[edit]

dictionary.com: corrupt = dishonest controversial = causing dispute

Gerrymandering is done right out in the open - honestly.

Unless the point is that all politicking in itself is dishonest, I don't think you can say gerrymandering is dishonest (corrupt).

So I reverted this last little edit from corrupt back to controversial.

It is clearly an intentional distortion of the voters wishes. My dictionary includes "made suspect or unreliable by errors or alterations". Is there really anyone who defends this except the person who is keeping his bum on the seat. This isn't retorical - at the moment I simply can't believ it. Dejvid 14:01, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Well, I don't see how you can call a practice that is well known and pervasive "corrupt." No unbiased observers called the recent redistricting struggle in Texas corruption, for instance. Also, before changing the lead sentence, why not create a section about the corruption aspect? Right now the article just doesn't support your assertion, IMHO. ~

My question was: Are there any people who state that jerrymandering is a valid, legitimate and legal part of democratic life. I know there are some people who justify it to give racial minorities a voice but that is illegal. Please giv examples (sources would be nice). I really can't get my head round the idea that it isn't seen as corrupt by all. Are there really people who claim that an election victory won thru a Jerrmander is truly democratic?Dejvid 21:30, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Well, you can't equate "truly democratic" with noncorrupt! The key here, I think, is not our opinion about whether it is bad, but rather if it is commonly considered "corruption."

{After some Web research} It looks like the 14th Amendment and the Voter Right's Act weigh in heavily here. Also, the Supreme Court acted on the Texas controversy just before the election AND the house ethics committee dinged Tom De Lay for sicking the FAA on hiding TX Democrat lawmakers.

All of this is good stuff for a reader who comes to the 'pedia wanting to know if gerrymandering is "wrong." It has a negative connotation, but redistricting for political gain is VERY widespread and really not corrupt as far as I can tell unexpertly.

Some sources: http://www.dailytexanonline.com/news/2004/10/19/TopStories/Justices.Bring.Redistricting.Back.To.Life-772675.shtml http://www.burntorangereport.com/archives/cat_redistricting.html http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2004-10-18-scotus-tx-redistricting_x.htm

This is a democrat speaking while justifing the continuation of gerrymandering in California "It's sad to oppose good reforms because your opponents are unethical, but it's necessary to refuse unilateral disarmament." That is to say 'we know it's unethical but we are going to do it cos the other lot will.' End of story - even the guilty admit it's unethical. And that's from one of your links. It's a bit like saying that bribery is a controversial method of helping voters decide how to vote. Dejvid 00:22, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Who has ever used the word "gestate"? Why not replace it with the commoner and simpler word "gem"?

Dejvid, so does that mean that if people rob banks all the time "out in the open," to use the definition that you provide, that means it is just controversial and not illegal? I don't believe so. The problem is this. Because this has been done so much, despite it actually being a bad thing, it unfortunately has become accepted, as you put it, controversial, instead of illegal, because, in reality, it DOES corrupt the system it is used in. In the case of the U.S., it allows the corruption already in place, to continue apparently unopposed, even though many people may actually oppose it. The reason is, it puts an incorrect "spin" on the true wishes of the people. 69.182.192.223 (talk) 22:02, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

unethical is not NPOV here?[edit]

I think "Unethical" in the first paragraph is far too strong. While it is generally looked on with disfavor the same can be said of most other venues for political sausage-making. Perhaps "Controversial" instead?

"Unethical" is too subjective to go into any encyclopedia article. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Contrib 20:31, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I mean as a part of a term's definition, especially. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Contrib 03:23, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Stevie, too much pussyfooting, in my opinion. If something is unethical, then it should be called so. You would not (I hope) call a political candidate, or a judge, taking bribes to be ethical? While it may be accepted practice to do so, that doesn't automatically mean it is ethical or not. 69.182.192.223 (talk) 22:05, 2 November 2010 (UTC)
It may be a moot question now since "unethical" appears to have been removed from the article but the subject of law includes ethical conduct. The subject of gerrymandering is more concerned with venue and the convenience of voters. The etymology of these words indicates that the root is related to the verb "to come". One aspect of an election is a coming together which is reflected is the US motto E pluribus unum. Gerrymandering appears to run contrary to the spirit of the American Independence movement. The Declaration of Independence lists the grievences of the colonists concerning arbitrary rule and the misconduct of the king and his parliament. The response is that found Cicero's On Duties which dealt with the responsibilities of those in office. This is seen in the requirement for good conduct by justices and the power of impeachment granted to Congress. So venue and convience should be among the primary concerns of those who shape voting districts. Those in office need to be accountable to the People so picking and choosing who they represent is an abuse of power. --Jbergquist (talk) 00:25, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

A Better Example[edit]

My addition could probably be cleaned up, but the 4th U.S. Congressional District of Illinois has got to be one of the best, most extreme examples of gerrymandering out there, and certainly has a place in the article. TresÁrboles 05:43, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Or virtually all of Maryland could be used as an example: http://planning.maryland.gov/PDF/Redistricting/2010maps/Cong/Statewide.pdf We've got it all. District 4 is the "earmuff" design. Districts 2, 3 and 7 guarantee Democrats maintain control of Republican suburbs by pairing them with vast tracks of inner Baltimore county. District 6 used to be a large contiguous piece of rural western Maryland but has now been gerrymandered to include significant portions of more liberal areas in Montgomery county (which, issues-wise, shares few if any interests with western Maryland). The whole state map is like someone tripped with a can of paint and the state has been rated "least compact" of any state in America. Jbaswell (talk) 04:49, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

I too came on to talk about Maryland. Seems someone beat me to it by a day. I live in the 3rd district but used to live in the second. Previously my hometown flopped between several districts. The entire state is now Gerrymandered. It used to be the 1st (Eastern Shore) and 6th (I always called it the Mountain District) were left alone with contiguous and sensible boundaries, but now even those have some funny reaches. Pay particular attention to Maryland's 2nd and 3rd districts, they are like snakes or interwoven strings with small and obnoxious connections. I agree with the comments above about (I assume the "new") districts 4 and 7. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.49.128.87 (talk) 00:07, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Need a source for origin of the term[edit]

While merging the origin of the term section into the head, I removed this text:

The term gerrymander is named after early Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry. In 1812, the Massachusetts legislature redrew legislative district lines to favor the Jeffersonian Republican party candidates. Two reporters were looking at the new election map and one commented that one of the new districts looked just like a salamander. The other retorted that it looked like a Gerry-mander. The name stuck and is now used by political scientists everywhere.

I had always heard the story that the cartoon illustrated was captioned "Looks like a gerrymander", and that's from where the term arose - not the conversation of two reporters. Either way, what we need here is a source.

I also removed this sentence, as I don't think it to be true:

Gerrymandering is also possible in multi-member electoral systems, but generally the drawing of boundaries are only effective at determining which party wins the last seat in a close contest.

This is because every multiple winner district can be marginal, and that can translate into many more than a single last seat. The elections don't have to be close either.

I added this text, but it needs more research and a source:

Sometimes gerrymandering is advocated as a solution for improving representation among underrepresented groups by packing them into a single district. This can be controversial, and may lead to those groups remaining marginalized in the government since they are all confined to a single district and representatives outside that district do not need to represent them to win election. An example would be much of the redistricting conducted in the United States in the early 1990s, where "majority-minority" districts were intentionally created by packing minorities into single districts. Curiously, this "maximization policy" was supported by elements of both the Republican Party (who had little support among the minority groups) and representatives elected from these constituencies, who had "safe" seats.

It might also be a bit POV, and I know there are critics on both sides of the policy, but I don't have sources for them at the moment. Either way, it's some neat content, and something like it should be in the article.

I also added some comments in the article where I plan to add some more content soon. Scott Ritchie 4 July 2005 00:40 (UTC)

It's been some years but I think the sentence "Gerrymandering is also possible in multi-member electoral systems, but generally the drawing of boundaries are only effective at determining which party wins the last seat in a close contest" was written with the Single Transferable Vote in mind and probably the experience in the Republic of Ireland. The "last seat" means the last seat in each multi-member district. Because it's a PR system there's none of the winner takes all (as opposed to multi-member first past the post) and a block of 30% of voters can't be denied representation. However because STV always has some votes not contributing to a winner (the quota to be elected is basically {number of votes}/{number of seats in the constituency +1} - i.e. in a four member seat it takes 20% of the vote to be elected but there'll be 20% of votes that end the count on the pile for an unsuccessful candidate) both the boundaries and the number of seats used can determine the outcome. The Republic of Ireland had a number of gerrymanders with parties of both governments redrawing boundaries to favour them, until the Tullymander backfired and made an independent commission inevitable, as well as individual areas being cut up (for instance in County Donegal the Donegal Progressive Party - a predominantly Protestant party - had a seat in the Dail until 1961 when the controversial "Blaneymander" rearranged the boundaries of the two Donegal constituencies, dividing the Protestant vote block so it was unable to elect a Progressive Party TD in either constituency). Timrollpickering (talk) 20:47, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Unfairly[edit]

Unfairly is a key word in many definitions given of gerrymandering.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines gerrymander as "To divide (a geographic area) into voting districts so as to give unfair advantage to one party in elections[1]." Encarta's Dictionary: "try to get extra votes unfairly: to manipulate an electoral area, usually by altering its boundaries, in order to gain an unfair political advantage in an election[2]" Ultralingua.Net: "To divide unfairly and to one's advantage; of voting districts[3]." Cambridge Dictionary of American English: "to divide (an area) into election districts (= special areas of voters who elect someone) in a way that gives an unfair advantage to one group or political party[4]" Webster Dictionary, 1913: "To divide (a State) into districts for the choice of representatives, in an unnatural and unfair way, with a view to give a political party an advantage over its opponent [5]." Online Plain Text English Dictionary: "To divide (a State) into districts for the choice of representatives, in an unnatural and unfair way, with a view to give a political party an advantage over its opponent.[6]" 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica: "to arrange election districts so as to give an unfair advantage to the party in power by means of a redistribution act, and so to manipulate constituencies generally, or arrange any political measure, with a view to an unfair party advantage.[7]"

If it was done "fairly" than there wouldn't be much of an argument. --Nyr14 12:16, July 12, 2005 (UTC)

If it were done fairly, gerrymandering wouldn't be used. Since the intent of gerrymandering is to adjust the vote despite what the people actually want, I would say that is unfair. 69.182.192.223 (talk) 22:07, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Malapportionment and Gerrymandering[edit]

The article seems to use examples of malapportionment interchangably with gerrymandering in many instances, such as the graphic and the United States section. While malapportionment is certainly worth a mention, explanation, and link, this article should probably note how gerrymandering is used even in cases where district sizes are equal in population. I think I'll move some content around when I get to it. Scott Ritchie 00:01, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

That does make a valid point. However, the point as I see it is to redistrict according to political views more-so than just population. 69.182.192.223 (talk) 22:08, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

When did Federal judges find redistricting legal?[edit]

the first line of the section titled Gerrymandering Computer Technology reads: "In the U.S., Federal judges found redistricting legal". obviously a year date was accidentally left out. i would correct it, but i can't figure out what year that that decision was made... help!  :-)

--Nic.stage 22:19, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, that whole section is in need of a rewrite. It's a bit US-centric and not particularly NPOV either. Scott Ritchie 01:37, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Controversial?[edit]

I think the opening of this article needs changing. I don't see much controversy about gerrymandering; not many people argue that their side should redistrict to their advantage (though I suppose you might find something similar in Coulter or the like if you looked hard enough).

Redistricting can be controversial, of course, but the controversy would be over whether a particular redistricting constitutes gerrymandering.

I would suggest simply removing the word 'controversial' from the opening sentence, unless anyone can provide an alternative viewpoint that gerrymandering (as opposed to redistricting) is proper conduct.

Well, the legislatures that implement gerrymandering obviously think it's a good idea, for one. Just because few people outright advocate it explicitly doesn't mean it isn't noncontroversial ;) Scott Ritchie 01:07, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
I would suggest that these legislatures probably don't say that the reason for their redistrictings are to favour the incumbent (or whoever). I don't want to get in a fight about this (after all, I am being very pedantic here), but I would say that redistricting can be controversial, and calling a redistricting gerrymandering would almost always be controversial, but the concept of gerrymandering itself isn't. But like I say, I don't want to fight about this. 203.59.123.73 04:01, 21 October 2005 (UTC)Will Spiller
I would strongly disagree with gerrymandering not being noted as being controversial, as it certainly is. I think it naive to presume that most people would not approve of gerrymanderign by their own political party if they thought it to their own advantage, and fights are constantly fought, at least in the United States, over how to reverse or reduce gerrymandering while many other argue in support of it, giving the ludicrous argument that having fewer competitive districts makes elections cheaper and as such is a good thing. It's very much controversial. - Cuivienen 03:16, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
On a devil's advocate there is a strong case for gerrymandering, though arguably it doesn't apply much in the US. By creating a set of ultra safe seats it means that some politicians and parties are virtually guarenteed to remain in the relevant assembly even in a disastrous year for the party overall, thus allowing them a platform from which to rebuild, as well as ensuring the assembly contains some opposition to the administration of the day. It can also mean that politicians who aren't the best campaigners in elections but who are good as ministers can get into parliament and thus prevent it from being purely full of parish pump politicians. A similar argument was made for the retention of rotten boroughs in the UK. But personally I don't think this justifies it, certainly not the absurd extent of US districts shaped like scorpions and earmuffs. Timrollpickering 11:35, 10 December 2005 (UTC)


Malapportioned Senate[edit]

In fixed districts, its claimed the US senate is the most malapportioned legislative body in the world. This seems like a difficult claim to make (and one unlikely to be true). Thoughts?? WilyD 14:59, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Can you really use the term "malapportionment" for a body based on equal representation for states? Timrollpickering 21:37, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
Absolutely. The term malapportionment means "unequal representative to population ratio". The United States Senate certainly qualifies, by definition - a Californian has 1/66 the senatorial voting power as a resident of Wyoming. The fact that it is intentionally made that way in the constitution doesn't really change that it is. As for where the claim comes from, I believe the correct formulation is in the Western world, as there are a host of semi-democracies that have pretty grossly malapportioned legislatures. I don't have a specific source, however, but I did learn that in class and if you can find a counterexample I'd be pleased to see it.Scott Ritchie 04:31, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
The definition of malapportionment according to M-W.com is "characterized by an inequitable or unsuitable apportioning of representatives to a legislative body". The Senate is not the most malapportioned, since each State recieves 2. Besides, if we are saying the most malapportioned body in the WORLD, you'd have to say it is the UN General Assembly, with China reciving as many votes as San Marino.
It's been a while on this thread, but not all upper houses are based on the concept of direct representation for the population - that is usually seen as the job of a lower house. Consequently the term "malapportionment" should be applied with caution when something other than the population is being represented. Some countries with strong federal systems use the upper house to explicitly represent the states (the German Bundesrat is arguably the one that takes this to the clearest conclusion) - and an upper house based on "each state gets the same number of representatives", like the US or Australian Senates, has a very equal ratio of representation for what is actually being represented (Australian territories aside). Timrollpickering 21:03, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Malapportionment and Representation by Area[edit]

Hi. Dropped in from writing up some stuff on rep-by-pop and rep-by-area from Representation (politics). I've been doing old historical election polls for Wiki's Canadian electoral project lately and, while I knew about them previously, have been constantly amazed by the incredibly low populations of some frontier-era and even post-war ridings. Thing is these really aren't malapportionment, except in a purist rep-by-pop sense, because the realities of the areas represented preclude any larger riding, so the population that's there gets its own say - largely because they're too far away from any more dominant electoral centre that would ever listen to their concerns. So ridings like Atlin, Skeena, Lillooet, Similkameen and Peace River had only a few hundred voters, vs the thousands in urban ridings in the same era (typically in the tens of thousands, larger ridings up to 20,000 and a few much larger, but with multiple members).

So it's a fine line. None of those seats were "safe seats" and the ridings were the way they were for historical and geographic reasons. But in other areas in BC there's been gerrymandering aplenty, most famously of a sliver of trés-riche urban swank - the Quilchena area - was added to Little Mountain, a mostly-middle class riding to secure a safe seat for a Socred cabinet minister (Gracie's Finger it was called, after Grace McCarthy). In the Kootenays and the Mid-Island the jiggering of electoral districts over the course of the last century is dizzying.

Anyway, my two bits. And just curious about how to define legitimate rep-by-area as opposed to malapportionment; I see someone holds that view on the US Senate; the same is true, but for different structural causes, in Canada. But again, the mass of area in Canada requires a compromise with non-population based electoral districts; the idea of Senate reform was to have ten senators each for all ten provinces; or a modulated formula with ten each for BC, AB, MB and SK combined, ON, QC, NB/NS/PEI/Nfld (or maybe twenty for them?), and ten for the territories Thing is Quebec would never go for it because they've got a 25% lockdown on Senate and Commons representation, no matter what happens to their population; and a third of the Supreme Court (and typically half the Cabinet, even under Tory governments...well, Mulroney's anyway). The rude compromise proposed by the Premiers, who don't want to have separate electoral bases, was for the Senator's jobs to be described as representing the views of the provincial governments, or to even just be appointed by the provincial governments, in other words the Premiers themeslves. And you'll notice how between the the Alliance-Tory merger and Tory "rebirth" the whole topic of senatorial reform has completely disappeared. No major political party wants changes to the existing political order. Which is also why BC-STV has been shelved, pending ways to dilute it and confuse the voters with other choices concocted by the profesional politicians....Skookum1 07:53, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Well, anyway, this is an article about gerrymandering, not about malapportionment. There very well may be justifiable reasons for malapportionment (perhaps such as you describe in Canada), and the NPOV policy tells us we should mention them on the malapportionment page. We mention malapportionment here alongside gerrymandering since the two frequently go together, particularly historically. It's certainly easier to gerrymander when you're allowed to make districts unequal in size as well, but they don't have to go together. Scott Ritchie 08:50, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Gerrymandering computer technology is inadequate[edit]

I recommend eliminating, renaming, or rewriting the section titled "Gerrymandering computer technology." As is, that section isn't really about computer technology and the section title is misleading. The only mentions of computer technology are "...accused of favoring Republicans by using computers to gerrymander..." and "...analysts have argued that sophisticated gerrymandering computer technology plus the fundraising advantages..." Niether of these statements are actually ABOUT computer technology or how computer technology is used to gerrymander. --134.161.206.248 00:25, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

You are, of course, correct. A lot of that section is POV stuff anyway, and should probably be trashed. I've been meaning to clear that up for some time (placing it on my todo list). We should have a section on computer technology, and now that you've reminded me perhaps I'll actually write a real one tomorrow. Thanks. Scott Ritchie 07:51, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
The problem Scott, is that if it is in fact used for the purposes of gerrymandering, then it does apply and should appear here. 69.182.192.223 (talk) 22:11, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Removed text[edit]

Another possible method of avoiding further gerrymandering is to simply avoid redistricting altogether by continuing to use existing political boundaries such as state, county, or provincial lines. Doing this makes further increasing electoral advantage by changing boundaries becomes impossible, however any existing advantage may become deeply ingrained. The United States Senate, for instance, has far more competitive elections than the House of Representatives due to the use of existing State borders rather than gerrymandered districts, however the Senate is also the most malapportioned legislative body in the developed world.

Consequently, many electoral reform packages advocate fixed or neutrally defined district borders to eliminate this manipulation. One such scheme of neutrally defined district borders is bioregional democracy which follows the borders of terrestrial ecoregions as defined by ecology. Presumably, scientific criteria would be immune to politically motivated manipulation, although of course this is debatable as scientists are people with political interests too.

The problem with geographically static districting systems (which is not what most reform packages suggest) is that they do not take in to account changes in population, meaning that individual electors can grow to have vastly different degrees of influence on the legislative process. This is particularly a problem during times of large population movements, and was especially prominent in the United Kingdom during the industrial revolution. See also Reform Act and rotten borough.

For this reason, scientists have proposed algorithmic ways of dividing constituencies. Desirable criteria for the outcomes are:

  • the system should be simple enough to be understood by most of the general population;
  • the constituencies must be connected (i.e., each in a single piece);
  • the constituencies should not be too elongated;
  • the constituencies should have the same population or at least almost the same.
While reworking the fixed district section, I removed the above text. Some of it I'll probably rework into a new section about creating objective rules for districts, however in the meantime I'm putting it here. Scott Ritchie 09:41, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

sections marked as stubs[edit]

Actually, considering this articles length it would be better if they each stayed about the same size, if there's more material, for them they should get their own articles and a link to it. Jon 19:48, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Singapore section[edit]

I think the Singapore section at the end is very POV and needs to be reworded, cited, or removed. Stifle (talk) 12:32, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree that the Singapore section needs to be cited, but I would be opposed to removing it and I do immediately see the point of rewording it. The words "accused", "suspected" and "alleged" suffice to show that these are opinions held by those who criticise the Singapore system, not objective facts. It is relevant to mention the fact that the system in the city state is controversial. (R3NL 22:20, 20 August 2006 (UTC))

Yes, the singapore section should be reworded, but not removed. It should also expanded to include more infomation

2001 Georgia Redistricting[edit]

How can ANY article on gerrymandering NOT include the Georgia redistricting of 2001. If no one else puts it up, I will do so myself! Ludahai 04:34, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Would it be too POV to establish a separate "list of gerrymandered US districts"? Or perhaps separate articles, "Gerrymandering in [state name]"? I can think of several congressional districts in Massachusetts -- Mass. 2nd (the Northampton "camel's head"), Mass. 3rd (the Fall River panhandle), Mass. 4th (a similar slender arm reaching to Brookline), Mass. 9th (the shoreline stretch, completely surrounded by Mass. 8th in Boston), perhaps even Mass. 7 (the stretch to Framingham). By my count, that's half the state's congressional districts. That's not even getting into the state Senate and state House districts. Wiki Wistah 03:56, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
I think that state senates & house seats have to be ignored because otherwise we're dealing with thousands of cases. On the congressional districts, I would limit this article to the most creative district boundaries. A list of all of the gerrymandered US congressional districts would need it's own article. In any case, they'll need a source, such as Fairvote.org. Jon 14:47, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Jon, the problem is, that many of those sites, such as FairVote, while seeming to be fair from their name, are actually pushing their particular political view, and so should be considered a biased source. The other point is, that at one time or another (consider this concept started in or near 1812) that I am sure the number of times this happened since then are huge. Especially when you consider this article is about the act or practice of gerrymandering itself, and the actual "look" of the district actually has little to do with the name. 69.182.192.223 (talk) 22:14, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Arizona Congressional District 2[edit]

We may want to consider removing this is an example of gerrymandering. While it seems obvious that it appears to be I believe this one is court ordered. The Navajo and Hopi tribes have had a long legal feud over their tribal boundries. It was considered to be a conflict of interest therefore to have them represented by the same Congressman. SkyWayMan 05:28, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Whether court ordered or not, it is an example of "arguably good" gerrymandering in that it collects communities of common interest into districts, as is the CA 23 coastal strip. Good or bad, it is still gerrymandering, isn't it? - Leonard G. 18:26, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
That's correct, in addition to partisian gerrymanders, there are bipartisian gerrymanders to protect all incumbents [such as CA's]. It is also conceivable that a commission whose members are prohibited from running in the seats drawn could draw up lines specificly to endanger as many incumbents as possible. (e.g. making top priority having as many districts as close as possible to 50-50 partisian mix to the exclusion of more traditional criteria such as county lines.) Jon 14:29, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

The gerrymander[edit]

Exactly which district was it that led to the name? Massachusett's third? VolatileChemical 15:46, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

That's corect. Jon 14:29, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

CA-11[edit]

California 11 looks like more of an example of a failed gerrymander than a (normal) gerrymander, considering it was intended as a Republican district but is now represented by a Democrat. I guess if we point that one out we should probably have an example in the other direction such as TN D-4 during the 1990s (snaking one county wide thru all three grand divisions of the state, containing portions of most TV markets in the state while avoding the core metro areas), which was intended for a Democrat but ended up in under the control of the Republicans in 1994. Jon 14:29, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Lede is too long[edit]

The lede is much too long. Perhaps the discussion of etymology and origin of the term can go below. The more important discussion is what it means in the electoral process.--Parkwells (talk) 15:25, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Working on this to move sections into body below, such as etymology. Will aim for 3-4 paragraph lede.

National examples[edit]

The narrative for Chile is very confusing. I recommend someone who knows what it is about try breaking up the issues into smaller pieces, with more context. --Parkwells (talk) 16:37, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Columbus, Ohio map is useless[edit]

Since Columbus isn't even SHOWN on the "map", unless you know Columbus (or have an atlas or another tab open), this "map" in it's current form is merely wasted electrons. --Grndrush (talk) 05:45, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

I clarified in the image caption where Columbus is located on the map. If you have a suggestion for a better map, please share. Qqqqqq (talk) 06:37, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Nice fact that got culled[edit]

In 2000, for example, only 57 of the 435 seats (13 percent) of the United States House of Representatives were competitive, that is, decided by margins of 10 percent or less.[1]

The above was removed in a recent edit, but should be reworked somewhere in the US section. Scott Ritchie (talk) 18:05, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

This somewhat assumes that "safe seats" are only a symptom of gerrymandering. In a lot of countries where gerrymandering isn't an issue there are many seats that are equally uncompetitive because the relevant party has a strong hold on the relevant demographics that predominate (e.g. middle class suburban seats or rural seats or working class dominated industrial/ex-industrial towns). Indeed in some countries you would need "pro competitive gerrymandering" producing bizarre seats that go against both geography and communities of interest to make them more competitive. Timrollpickering (talk) 22:17, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Why does this carry a globalize tag...[edit]

...considering that the term itself originated in the United States, and (counter-examples are welcome!) primarily applies to United States politics? Malapportionment apparently already has its own article. Begging another question, why *wouldn't* the article perspective be limited to the U.S.? Just askin'. 98.228.92.5 (talk) 01:23, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Because gerrymandering, which is in no way the same thing as malapportionment, has occurred in many other countries as well (though has generally been stamped out by now) and a lot of the technical explanation is very specific to the US system (most other countries don't have voters registered by party for instance). Timrollpickering (talk) 10:28, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm amused to note that immediately above the globalize tag is a suggestion tag to merge Electoral geography with this article, thus making this article even more US-centric... dafydd (talk) 01:56, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
The fact remains that gerrymandering is a term that originated in the US, and is primarily a US phenomenon. It would be odd and inappropriate if the article didn't focus mostly on the US perspective. 75.76.213.106 (talk) 14:18, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
In the last two years, The Tory Party in the UK Government has tried to redraw most of the electoral boundaries in what they say is an attempt to reduce the number of MPs in The House of Commons, and what nearly everyone else says is an attempt to reduce the number of LABOUR MPs in The House of Commons. If this is not gerrymandering, what is it? 2001:A88:5:35:1DA0:8F69:CE81:A4D (talk) 08:11, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Merge Electoral geography into this Article[edit]

I do not want this article to be further confused by addressing the problem as it occurs in the UK. It would be a very good thing if the "Electoral geography" were left to develop on its own for now. The current article seems to describe a game of Croquette as opposed to any form of rational government. Until such time as that article can be improved to give some hint of how the UK system works (or doesn't work) it is difficult to ascertain whether the problem of "gerrymandering" even exists. The current mess in the USA caused by huge gerrymandered districts needs to remain uncluttered by additional circuses until it is well understood by Americans. The next 2 years (2009, 2010) and perhaps until 2011 we Americans have a major opportunity to repair the damage done to our own system. But further confusion is not going to be helpful. I can't seem to parse the "Electoral geography" article in such a way as to understand how the UK system can work at all. It seems a total mess..--The Trucker (talk) 19:36, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

That article is so poorly written it's next to impossible to understand what the author is on about.
Electoral geography is primarily significant in noting regional variations in voting, with some voting systems extenuating features (e.g. the south-north England divide in British politics is in part really a divide between suburbs/market towns/rural areas and urban areas, with the way these dominate the constituencies producing the maps they do; the south-north divide in Wales is a similar situation albeit with the compass reversed but also has language issues) and there are many factors other than gerrymandering.
Many different countries have historic divides that are reflected in elections - as well as urban/rural divides that exist in a lot of political systems, there's also historic and linguistic ones. For once such case take a look at the Ukrainian presidential election, 2004 where although there was corruption all three ballots saw the same east-west provincial divide. See also the analysis of the French presidential election, 2007 which notes the way part of the country voted the way it traditionally has done since at least the Third Republic and other parts have had shifts.
Sticking all this into the gerrymandering article would be utterly inappropriate for the subject matter. Timrollpickering (talk) 20:48, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Shortest split-line method can't be biased?[edit]

This unsourced claim appears to be original research based on the fact that the only inputs are shape of the state and population distribution. But it seems to me that any geometric/mathematical districting algorithm would need to be careful to avoid having a pro-rural or pro-urban bias, which would definitely translate into a partisan bias in the US at least. Note that when applied to the green/magenta example, it would produce the (probably undesirable) bottom left outcome. I haven't crunched numbers, but I also suspect this method would tend to give disproportionate representation to whichever party has the majority in general. Getspaper (talk) 07:09, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Objective rules to create districts (needs references)[edit]

The first part of the section "Objective rules to create districts" cites no sources. (I did remove some references but they were only to define terms and did not support the facts stated.) One paragraph starts "One idea ..." This strike me as WP:WEASEL; we don't who proposed this idea. The next paragraph has similar problems. The statement about court rulings in the U.S. is unsourced.--RDBury (talk) 13:47, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

Multiculturalism and immigration[edit]

Critics of multiculturalism sometimes claim that it is a radical form of gerrymandering, by which a left-leaning party promotes immigration in order to destabilize its conservative opponents. See for example the Labour Party immigration scandal. [8][9][10] ADM (talk) 23:05, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Removed from "recent steps" under "United States"[edit]

I removed the following paragraphs from the section "Recent Steps" under "United States".

The section on San Diego seems inappropriate in terms of scale -- why mention one city in a section dedicated to national-election-level gerrymandering? If this is a major example of a unique trend, the paragraph should be expanded to state how and why such is the case, and possibly include other cities or areas which have used third party commissions or other unique districting techniques.

The section on the Annan Plan does not belong under the heading for United States -- whoever is interested and knowledgeable about this subject should write it under its own heading AND include some valid sources: as it stands, it makes one hell of an accusation without recourse to any 3rd party sources.

According to its municipal charter, the city of San Diego uses a third party commission to define district boundaries.

The proposed Annan Plan for a confederated Cyprus would have operated to eliminate voting rights of Christian citizens of Cyprus,namely Greek, Armenian and Catholic Maronites by institutionally excluding them from the Northern third of the loose confederation whereby only Muslims, namely ethnic Turks would solely enjoy democratic freedoms even though they have legal title to less than 11% of land in the area and formerly made up less than 18% of the resident population before the region was ethnically cleansed of all Christians.

72.196.123.188 (talk) 18:58, 27 December 2009 (UTC) Richard Paez, malachi@pathetic.org

Removed text from objective rules[edit]

I removed the following:

====Minimum district to convex polygon ratio====
Another method is to define a minimum district to convex polygon ratio. To use this method, every proposed district is circumscribed by the smallest possible convex polygon (similar to the concept of a convex hull). Then, the area of the district is divided by the area of the polygon; or, if at the edge of the state, by the portion of the area of the polygon within state boundaries. The advantages of this method are that it allows a certain amount of human intervention to take place (thus solving the Colorado problem of splitline districting); it allows the borders of the district to follow existing jagged subdivisions, such as neighborhoods or voting districts (something isoperimetric rules would discourage); and it allows concave coastline districts, such as the Florida gulf coast area. It would mostly eliminate bent districts, but still permit long, straight ones. However, since human intervention is still allowed, the gerrymandering issues of packing and cracking would still occur, just to a lesser extent.
====Minimum isoperimetric quotient====
It is possible to define a specific minimum isoperimetric quotient[2], the ratio between the area and perimeter of any given congressional voting district. Although technologies presently exist to define districts in this manner, there are no rules in place mandating their use. Such rules would prevent the incorporation of jagged natural boundaries, such as rivers or mountains. When such boundaries are required (such as at the edge of a state), certain districts may not be able to meet the required minima.


The first paragraph was uncited (as noted above), and both were a bit too specific and mathy for the general idea (another editor similarly removed the Shortest splitline algorithm). There have been many different proposals for mathematical rules to define districts, however explanations of how they work probably belong in separate articles (with appropriate citations). I think the text now gives a better, succinct summary of what these methods have in common as well as their disadvantages (don't consider geography, respecting local boundaries, and one set of rules may benefit one group more than another, leading to a "picking the rules" gerrymander). Scott Ritchie (talk) 23:51, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Removed section: origin of the term[edit]

I removed this section at the top

==Origin of the term==
The word gerrymander was coined by a newspaper editor in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts electoral boundaries under the then governor Elbridge Gerry (pronounced /ˈɡɛri/; 1744–1814), that included one sprawling supposedly salamander-shaped constituency.
In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill into law that redistricted his state to benefit his Democratic-Republican party. One of the resulting contorted districts was said to resemble a salamander.[3] The term first appeared in the Boston Gazette on March 26, 1812.

I did this because it is essentially duplicated by the image caption, which basically looks better anyway. Scott Ritchie (talk) 00:01, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

I explained in my edit summary why I reverted this edit.--Jorfer (talk) 04:21, 23 January 2010 (UTC)
"duplication is not disallowed on Wikipedia...in fact, it is encouraged when summarizing more detailed articles...in an encyclopedia, the main text is the primary vehicle for communication"
You're quite right, but we are not summarizing a more detailed article here, we are being redundant and writing the same thing twice and writing the same thing twice. In its current layout the caption text is literally right next to the main text here. This makes the article much more of a pain to read, especially because this particular fact is better understood underneath the picture that gives it relevance and the picture gives it relevance and makes it easier to understand. Scott Ritchie (talk) 06:22, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Minor Error[edit]

Under the united states section is a picture from the original page where the term gerrymander was first used. It claims it is from the Boston Gazette 1812. However the Boston Gazette stopped publishing in 1798 according to the gazette article. The picture from the front page mentions the boston centinel or some such. In any case I think the text under the picture is wrong. Don't know enough to fix myself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.33.111.74 (talk) 17:05, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

The image description also mentions the boston centinel -- I updated the link. Scott Ritchie (talk) 00:41, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Putting the images back in context[edit]

Someone "helpfully" put every image in this page into a large gallery near the top. This removes the context that some of them had with related concepts - the explanation of how the US requirement for contiguous districts is not a very binding constraint is made very clear when put adjacent the image of the "earmuff" district, for instance. Scott Ritchie (talk) 00:37, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Need for clear, simple, abstract example[edit]

The article presents valuable detail, but needs a clear, simple, abstract example (to avoid local political POVs). This article has been rated as being only of medium importance which suggests that the power and severity of the potential abuses of gerrymandering have not been sufficiently clarified.

A simple example has been added which clearly shows how via Gerrymandering a minority of the voters can generate a stable supermajority for themselves in the legislature, completely distorting the premise of representative democracy. The example is clean, and does not include any references to specific countries, elections or parties in order to maintain its neutrality and clarity.

(There was an earlier set of diagrams like these that I found more convincing. What happened to it?)

Here's a good clear example that illustrates the concept's importance[edit]

Simple example of how a minority can gain supermajority representation via Gerrymandering[edit]


Representative democracy typically asserts the principal that a minority of voters should not be able to capture a majority
or supermajority of legislative seats. Gerrymandering can threaten this principle.
Via Gerrymandering, a minority of the population can create a stable self-reinforcing supermajority for themselves in the government.

Consider the following simple example :

Three districts A,B, and C.
100 voters.
Majority in a district wins the district.

Two parties :

X has 60 % of the voters nationally.
Y has 40 % of the voters nationally.

(X has a supermajority of support in the population).


District Allocation :

A 34 Voters from X, 0 from Y. (X wins district A)

B 13 Voters from X, 20 from Y. (Y wins district B)

C 13 Voters from X, 20 from Y. (Y wins district B)

Results :

TWO THIRDS of the legislative seats go to the minority party Y.

All districts are quite stable - "safe seats" - with a high probability
that the outcome is known in advance. Each party's favorite for their
safe districts will almost surely be elected.

Party Y can continue to use gerrymandering to subvert democracy
since it has a supermajority of the legislative seats.

It is unlikely that this will change unless Party Y loses its
ability to poll districts and gerrymander accordingly.

Party Y can also starve Party X and its supporters of resources
(and perhaps of rights) since it controls two thirds of the
legislature.

As we can see, gerrymandering can significantly undermine the principle of majority rule fundamental to representative democracy.
(see oligarchy for contrast)


—Preceding


unsigned comment added by 208.116.128.56 (talk) 17:15, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

Salamander / Meander[edit]

When I took English at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, I was told that the word Gerrymandering was a blend of the name Gerry and the word Meander. Now I hear that it has to do with Salamander. Is this questioned at all? Honestly, the image in the article [[11]] looks more like some bird than a lizzard. ChrisPsi (talk) 13:48, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

See Salamander (legendary creature), there are several images of the mythical salamander that look like the dragon in the original Gerrymander picture. --Jayron32 17:39, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Edit to first line?[edit]

In the first sentence there is the phrase: "rather than using uniform geographic standards." I think it should be removed. It is not necessary for the sentence to work, and presoposses that uniform geographic standards are better. The example given in the "Effects of gerrymandering" section clearly demonstrates that uniform geographic standards can create unequal results just as easily as gerrymandering can. 97.75.161.222 (talk) 18:09, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Point taken. That line has been removed.--JayJasper (talk) 18:38, 8 June 2011 (UTC)

Change in language explaining California's 23 district.[edit]

The language describing the image pertaining to California's 23 district stated something along the line of "favoring the Democratic Candidate". This language is the exact opposite of the meaning of Gerrymandering. I'm not sure if that was the intent, but IMHO it was confusing to my interpretation of the language. I changed it instead to reflect the actual intent of that district (It marginalizes all democratic party voters into a single district). Jeff Carr (talk) 01:37, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Looking at the original language ("Designed to provide for a safe seat for the Democratic Representative") I'm not sure how that goes against the meaning of gerrymandering. Safe seats exist for both those in power and in opposition under gerrymandering, whether that's because of the majority protecting itself, the majority ghettoising the minority, or the individual politicians on both sides co-operating to cut the pesky voters out of the equation. Timrollpickering (talk) 01:50, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

US: Republicans and Gerrymandering?[edit]

The article overwhelmingly gives the impression that gerrymandering is the US is an exclusively Republican action--every example given involves the Republican party as the gerrymander-ers. This leads me to ask two questions:

  1. Is it actually the case that gerrymandering is exclusively Republican?
  2. If so, should the article explicitly mention that? (Properly cited, of course.)

Spectheintro (talk) 16:37, 8 November 2012 (UTC)spectheintro

It's done by both sides but for whatever reason it seems easier to find Republican examples - haven't they controlled the majority of relevant state legislatures since Wikipedia's been going? Democrats redrew in Illinois in the early 2000s but this detail doesn't come up much in profiles of Obama. Timrollpickering (talk) 10:20, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

United Kingdom[edit]

The article defines gerrymandering as "attempt[ing] to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts". The example quoted in the United Kingdom section is the proposed constituency boundary changes by the Electoral Commission. However, this was not gerrymandering since the Electoral Commission is non-partisan and it was not trying to advantage any political party; rather, the political advantage was a side-effect. The goal was to reduce the number of Members of Parliament from about 650 to 600 and to have constituencies of more equal population. I've reworded the section to a more NPOV but I propose deleting it altogether because I don't think it's relevant. Any comments? Dricherby (talk) 10:20, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Whether or not the case constitutes gerrymandering (/the independence of the electoral commission) has been the subject of great discussion; therefore something on it ought to remain IMHO. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 10:29, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
It's only been great discussion with the G word tossed about because opposition parties have squealed at the prospect of their inbuilt advantage being removed. But the main issue is malapportionment not gerrymandering and the section doesn't belong here. Timrollpickering (talk) 15:37, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Fair point. Do any reliable sources describe it as gerrymandering, rather than just quoting the Labour Party? - Jarry1250 [Vacation needed] 17:34, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Here's a source that explicitly says it's not gerrymandering: [12], which is a blog but by a correspondent of a major British TV station, written as part of her work. I've failed to find any source, reliable or otherwise, for the gerrymandering claim that is not either directly from the Labour Party (the party which stood to lose from the boundary changes) or media reporting of Labour Party allegations. Can anyone else find anything? Dricherby (talk) 11:03, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Nobody came up with any sourcs so I deleted the text. Here's the diff: [13] Dricherby (talk) 11:04, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
The text does not make any bogus claims. At worst, it provides an example of the gerrymandering-like effects of what Jarry1250 likes to refer to as malapportionment. I think that the text ought to stay in as it hardly makes contentious claims. It also did appear to be sufficiently well cited and balanced. It at no point makes the assertion that the Boundary Commission deliberately went about Gerrymandering the constituency boundaries (though whether that was the case given the individuals who would have re-drawn the Boundaries is a different matter about which individuals will have their own opinion, and about which blogs may very well be written). The fact that Labour (& Lib Dem?) constituencies would have lost a disproportionate number of seats is the re-drawing is something for which (a) No quote may be necessary, if it's a self-evidently obvious observation OR (b) a quote may be found with ease due to its inherent obviousness. There may be scope for modifying the text in some way to indicate that it's an example of indirect Gerrymandering via attempting to (ostensibly) counter malapportionment (which, given your objections, is an assertion which would be less controversial). Your quote from Channel 4 news does not necessarily imply that the text has no function within the article (notwithstanding that the quote might not be representative of the vast opinion of verifiable sources which can be found on the matter), only that some disagree with the idea that the text that the article refers to is Gerrymandering.
AnInformedDude (talk) 02:54, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
The fact that Labour would have been affected more than the Conservatives is already included in the text. But it is original research to start including text about "gerrymandering-like effects" or "indirect gerrymandering via attempts to (ostensibly) counter malapportionment". Nobody has managed to find a single source, independent of the Labour Party, that describes this as gerrymandering. Unless sources can be found for this, the text has no place in the article. Dricherby (talk) 07:17, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
Furthermore, describing this as "gerrymandering-like" endorses the point of view that the current situation was just and the change unjust. One could just as well take the opposite POV that the current situation unjustly favours the Labour Party, by having smaller constituencies in areas where that party does well, and that the proposed change was an attempt to remove this earlier "gerrymandering-like" effect from the system. Dricherby (talk) 08:52, 30 May 2013 (UTC)
"One could just as well take the opposite POV that the current situation unjustly favours the Labour Party" - You would only be able to take this position IF you had evidence to support it. Using the possibility of arguing the opposite of what seems to be self-evident would certainly be POV. Which, I suppose, is the crux of why I re-instated the relevant items of text. The text shows that Constituency Boundary re-drawings would certainly have a disproportionate effect on one Party more than another. Whether this is deliberate or not is irrelevant. That it is true is the issue of importance here (not withstanding Wikipedia's "Verifiability, not truth" Policy, which I imagine can often be, and is, subjectively implemented for the purposes of introducing various Biases into wikipedia, including Political and other forms of Bias). Using your reasoning, EVERY statement within Wikipedia that is not verifiably backed up by some form of supposedly "reliable" source would be subject to deletion. This is clearly an insane approach to how contributions to Wikipedia should be drawn up, and I imagine that many people - if aware that such a policy is used to construct Wikipedia articles, would question whether Wikipedia articles are worth reading at all. Using your reasoning, and all the consistent logical consequences of it, would you argue that EVERY unverfied statement within the Gerrymandering article should be deleted? Would you prefer the situation whereby every unreferenced statement requires a reference for each statement to be left within the Wikipedia article? Clearly, some statements logically follow from previous ones, and stating a logically entailed statement is for the benefit of those who are not smart enough to determine the logical consequences of those statements themselves. Thus, notions like "gerrymandering-like effects" are entirely reasonable, NOT OR, and most people would not object to their inclusion. I will be reverting the changes to the article until such time as you respond to the reasoning that I have given. AnInformedDude (talk) 23:24, 10 June 2013 (UTC)
You are applying different sourcing requirements for your own views versus my proposition. You say that if I wanted to propose that the current situation (smaller constituencies in an area that votes Labour) is to Labour's advantage, I would have to provide sources that say that, but you are happy to add text to the article asserting that changing the current situation is gerrymandering in favour of the Conservatives, without sources describing this as gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is, by definition, the manipulation of boundaries for political gain so anything that is not done for the purpose of political gain is not gerrymandering: I even listed a source above that explicitly states that it isn't gerrymandering. Your assertion that "most people would not object" to inclusion is not based on any evidence.

And, yes, every statement on Wikipedia that is not backed up by a reliable source is potentially subject to deletion, as an absolute matter of Wikipedia policy: "All material in Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable" and "Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed." Now, in practice, we don't provide sources for absolutely everything and WP:OR says that the key point is the existence of sources, even if they're not mentioned in the article. It gives the example that we don't need to give a source for "Paris is the capital of France" because everyone knows it's true and anyone could find a source in the blink of an eye. WP:BLP issues aside, I wouldn't normally delete unsourced material unless I believed it to be untrue, which is what's happening here. In particular, the verifiability policy states that any material that is "challenged or is likely to be challenged" must have sources that "must clearly support the material as presented in the article" and the burden of proof is on the person who wishes to add or restore such material to the article. Notions such as "gerrymandering-like effects" are not "clearly supported" by the sources given. WP:SYNTH (part of WP:OR) explicitly says that one should not use a fact in a source (e.g., that the boundary changes favour one party over another) to advance a conclusion that is not in that source (e.g., that the boundary change is gerrymandering, or a "gerrymandering-like effect"). That is precisely OR. Dricherby (talk) 08:23, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

The deleted text in question, and the subject of our contention, IS:

"Proposals by the politically-independent Electoral Commission to reduce the number of seats in the House of Commons by redrawing constituency boundaries were defeated in the House of Commons in January 2013.[4]

Under the proposals the areas set to lose the fewest seats tended to vote Conservative, while other regions such as Wales, which would lose a larger proportion of its seats, tended to have more Labour voters. The plans were defended by the Conservative government as the natural result of smoothing out the number of voters per constituency, as in Wales in the 2010 election there were 36,667 votes per MP elected but in England there were 47,063 votes per MP.[5][6]"

There are some responses which I would like to give to our on-going discussion concerning the inclusion of the above text. 1) You stated on 07:17, 30 May 2013 (UTC) that "The fact that Labour would have been affected more than the Conservatives is already included in the text." At the time of this point, I am NOT aware that this is, in fact, explicitly stated as such anywhere within the article (one would logically think such a statement ought to be included

2) "I wouldn't normally delete unsourced material unless I believed it to be untrue, which is what's happening here." That's fair enough, afterall, you're entitled to your opinion. Nevertheless, by your own statement you have NO evidence (or sources) to back up the idea that the material that you removed was, indeed, untrue. What you are acting upon is your own belief or opinion, NOT what is either Verifiable OR True (not withstanding the whole Verifiability, not Truth debacle).

"And, yes, every statement on Wikipedia that is not backed up by a reliable source is potentially subject to deletion, as an absolute matter of Wikipedia policy".

3) You say that : "Notions such as "gerrymandering-like effects" are not "clearly supported" by the sources given. WP:SYNTH (part of WP:OR) explicitly says that one should not use a fact in a source (e.g., that the boundary changes favour one party over another) to advance a conclusion that is not in that source (e.g., that the boundary change is gerrymandering, or a "gerrymandering-like effect"). That is precisely OR." Not withstanding the issue of how one determines whether "gerrymandering-like effects" are "clearly supported" within a source or sources, the information you deleted faithfully reproduces the source in question (the http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21235169 website). In particular, the text states that "Under the proposals the areas set to lose the fewest seats tended to vote Conservative, while other regions such as Wales, which would lose a larger proportion of its seats, tended to have more Labour voters." From what you have stated ("one should not use a fact in a source (e.g., that the boundary changes favour one party over another)"), you at least agree that the text WAS correct, and WAS verifiable given the source in question (you have said this!). The issue under contention is whether this constitutes Gerrymandering. You might make the assertion that including the text within the Gerrymandering article constitutes "advancing a conclusion that is not in that source", ie: that the changes were a form of Gerrymandering, by virtue of the fact that the changes are being included within the Gerrymandering article. This is a fallacy in the sense that just because an example is included within a Gerrymandering article, that that example is an example of Gerrymandering. It might be an illustrative example of something relevant to Gerrymandering (in which case, it at the very least ought to go into the malapportionment article, but the common sense reference I will make below means that it is well within reason for it to go into THIS article).

4) "And, yes, every statement on Wikipedia that is not backed up by a reliable source is potentially subject to deletion, as an absolute matter of Wikipedia policy: "All material in Wikipedia mainspace, including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable" and "Any material lacking a reliable source directly supporting it may be removed." Now, in practice, we don't provide sources for absolutely everything and WP:OR says that the key point is the existence of sources, even if they're not mentioned in the article. " This may be the correct way of doing things. Then again, it may not. In particular, since you are stating that, as an "absolute matter" of policy, potentially ALL material lacking a "reliable source" (notwithstanding the issue of who determines what a reliable source is, or how it is defined, etc...) can be deleted, this overarching viewpoint would seem to conflict with "Common Sense" (WP:UCS), necessitating a conceptual hierarchy of whether Common Sense is deemed to be superior to Policy Guidelines (it does seem to be, in that "Wikipedia has many rules. Instead of following every rule, it is acceptable to use common sense as you go about editing. Being too wrapped up in rules can cause loss of perspective, so there are times when it is better to ignore a rule. Even if a contribution "violates" the precise wording of a rule, it might still be a good contribution."). Further, that statement "Why isn't "use common sense" an official policy? It doesn't need to be; as a fundamental principle, it is above any policy." would seem to imply that Common sense is above policies, and that if the deleted text IS common sensical, then it is a Good encyclopaedia entry and ought to be included, not deleted. Furthermore, the idea that EVERY statement on Wikipedia that is not backed up is potentially subject to deletion would seem to be a false position to hold as per WP:UCS.

Of course, the issue here is whether THIS statement on Wikipedia ought to be deleted (and some of the above points argue AGAINST deletion).

5) "Nobody came up with any sourcs so I deleted the text" Well, I guess the following would constitute a source. I will endeavour to include it within the article, BUT by your own arguments, this is not an absolute necessity (all that is necessary is that the reliable source exists, according to what you say - though maintaining goodwill would seem to necessitate that this be demonstrated, as I am about to do): http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/johnmcternan1/100104661/boundary-commission-this-tory-gerrymander-is-just-another-drop-of-kool-aid-for-the-suicidal-lib-dems/ For example, it states that "These changes – published yesterday – were anticipated to be particularly bad for Labour. " I believe that citation satisfies general community requirements for WP:RS.

I hope that these points at least demonstrate goodwill on my part in restoring the relevant text, and show that such restoration is reasonable. You are, of course, free to counter-argue BUT I hope that you would do as I have done AND make your arguments BEFORE instigating any changes. AnInformedDude (talk) 18:46, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

I think that, according to the below, I am correct to object to your removal of the material:

"Editors might object if you remove material without giving them time to provide references; consider adding a citation needed tag as an interim step."

WP:BURDEN "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and is SATISFIED by providing a reliable source that directly supports the material." I HAVE provided a reliable source that directly supports the material. You have REMOVED said material with NO justification, stating that significant discussion has occurred. In line with good-faith, it is clear that you should provide justification given that I have demonstrated the existence of such a source on the Talk Page.

AnInformedDude (talk) 09:47, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Seems WP:SYNTH to assume that when my party loses seats, it's gerrymandering, when my party gains seats, it means there is no gerrymandering.
It's quite another matter when (in a previous example) one district (in Scotland?) had 1/5 the votes of another. That smacks of rotten borough which is worse than gerrymandering!
The courts are involved in the US. So legislators, sometimes with malign intent, draw districts to give minorities "safe" seats. So safe that they win nearly 100% of the vote! Hardly necessary. But some federal court has usually approved it.
So picking every democracy with the idea of finding "gerrymandering" seems WP:UNDUE IMO. Student7 (talk) 19:44, 31 October 2013 (UTC)
I think we have three categories here: 1) Rotten boroughs with vastly disproportionate constituencies. These would go into a separate article. Maybe linked from a higher level article. 2) Somewhat out-of-proportion constituencies. I'm not sure these should be mentioned at all unless they fall into another category. 3) Genuine "gerrymandering" which belong here. I'm hoping there is a "classical" (WP:RS) definition that someone can come up with. But my guess is that the "long sides" of the constituency should be malproportioned to the shorter sides; say 2:1 or more.
I agree, in advance, that there may be other ways of gerrymandering that look square on paper! I await someone's analysis of those! Student7 (talk) 16:54, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Here is an apparent WP:RS: http://www.udel.edu/johnmack/research/gerrymandering.pdf . It suggests a "reasonable polygon." And says just prior that "District boundaries should make sense to laypeople, preferably following naturally-occurring geographic features that define boundaries between communities."
So we should be reporting cases that fail to follow this, not just "simple annoyances" to one party or the other. Student7 (talk) 18:53, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

Informative Youtube video[edit]

I suppose it won´t do as an external link, but it´s very good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mky11UJb9AY&list=SPqs5ohhass_QZtSkX06DmWOaEaadwmw_D Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 12:12, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Chile[edit]

mfarah, please discuss your issues with the article here before reverting. Thanks. Pristino (talk) 16:30, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Pristino, you should have not edited back the page without this discussion first.
That said, once again I'll explain to you the issues with *your edit* (not the entire article):
1) I think you're changing the neutral tone of the article to a non-neutral one.
2) You're erasing a reference to a source that provides hard data, deletion that, in my view, makes no sense whatsoever (I'd understand if you replaced a "third-party" source with one "more official" and closer to the source one, like you did in the page for the electoral divisions of Chile, but it's not the case here, is it?).
We **must** discuss and *agree* on a consensual redaction of the paragraphs about Chile, instead of calling names out in the revision history and war-editing. Mfarah (talk) 12:09, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
What I'm doing is including information that is as objective as it is possible, such as dates, laws and referendum results. A reference for the referendum results will be added shortly. Pristino (talk) 23:28, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
What happened to "reach an agreement on the talk page before committing further edits"? Even disregarding the still pending discussion about the obvious bias present in the scielo.cl document, you still have not explained (or reinstated) the source for hard data from the reference you deleted. So no, I don't think you're "including information that is as objective as possible", since you erased a link to servel.cl, the ultimate source for election results in Chile. War-editing is not cool, and neither is ignoring an open discussion in the talk page. mfarah (talk) 23:02, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Public Interest Guide to Redistricting
  2. ^ James Case "Flagrant Gerrymandering: Help from the Isoperimetric Theorem?"
  3. ^ "Thousands of true funny stories about famous people. Anecdotes from Gates to Yeats". Anecdotage.Com. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  4. ^ . BBC. 2013-01-29 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21235169. Retrieved 2013-02-14.  Text " titleConservatives lose boundary review vote " ignored (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Q&A: Boundary changes". BBC. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 
  6. ^ . BBC. 2010-05-06 http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/election2010/results/default.stm. Retrieved 2013-02-14.  Text " Election 2010 Results " ignored (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)

to do - someone should remove california districts in examples section, replace with...???[edit]

The examples show three California examples that should probably be removed because our state non-partisan commission drastically changed the boundaries after the 2010 census, so that using them as examples links to districts that are specifically not Gerrymandered now. It's confusing for the purpose of this article. If they're to be used as examples, they should link to historical examples.

Perhaps they could be replaced with districts brought under judicial scrutiny for gerrymandering. Austin might also be a good example, as it is the only city of that size to not include an anchor district - it is thoroughly carved up for gerrymandering reasons.

Davey1107 (talk) 01:22, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

If it was important enough to list as a problem to start with, it should be moved to a "History" subsection, which does not now exist, apparently. (And how is the original Gerry-mander described? As modern?) Student7 (talk) 21:09, 13 November 2014 (UTC)