# [EM] Automated districting

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 8 01:38:01 PST 2004

```Hexagons sounds good, till you consider that they won't work at the borders
of the state being districted. Since district shapes can't be hexagons at
the state's borders, why bother making hexagons in the interior?

The populations or voting populations in the districst of course have to be
exactly equal, or as nearly so as possible.

The only important thing about the districts is that they're automated and
follow from a strictly-applied formula that has no human input, so that no
one can contrive districts to benefit his/her political party or candidates.
They needn't be hexagons. They needn't be made by an elaborate procedure.
Voters will object to an elaborate procedure.  There's no reason not to use
the simplest formula possible. The formula should be as simple as possible.

The districts should be rectangles (of course the border-districts will lose
some of their rectangularness due to the shape of the border).

Of course it's good if there's some effort to make the rectangles reasonably
nearly square. But any serious effort to achieve that will complicate the
formula. Don't worry about how square they are.
A simple formula can make them reasonably so.

When I say "rectangles", I don't mean that the sides must be straight lines.
Lines of latitude and longitude would make good district borders, even
though parallels of latitude aren't straight lines on the ground, or on most
maps (but they are on some maps).

Straight lines on the ground would be an unnecessarily complicating
requirement.

Just straight lines on some map. It doesn't matter what map. Lines of
latitude & longitude qualify by that requirement. But any kind of map will
do.

In fact, if one wanted to, one could use a map on which a straight line on
the map is a straight line on the ground. Such a map radicallly distorts
distances & areas though.

Mike Ossipoff

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