[EM] Gerrymandering

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at lavabit.com
Mon Dec 3 11:51:56 PST 2012

On 12/03/2012 02:00 PM, Jonathan Denn wrote:
> Fair Redistricting or Ending Gerrymandering is always a great
> "grievance" among electoral reformers. But the "solution" is much
> more elusive. Do you folks ever venture into that area?

I'd prefer dissolving that particular problem to solving it. Use a 
multiwinner method like STV and the incentive to do gerrymandering 
pretty much disappears. The subsequent proliferation of parties makes it 
much harder to get a majority to support the gerrymander in the first 
place, too. Or give the task to a nonpartisan group or organization, 
such as the independent commissions in Canada or Australia.

It is *possible* to add restrictions, such as compactness minima, that 
make it harder to do gerrymandering, but that also limits the ability to 
make districts follow communities of interest. These restrictions make 
the process more blind, but not just blind to malicious tweaking. Again, 
I think it is better to remove the incentive, because that's what 
ultimately causes the gerrymandering.

(Norway uses party list PR and each highest-level administrative region 
is a district for the purposes of party list PR. These regions have 
different populations and so elect different numbers of MPs. Even if the 
incentive was there, gerrymandering would be practically impossible -- 
it would be like trying to gerrymander state boundaries to bias the Senate.)

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