[EM] CMU's "cake cutting" solution to gerrymandering

Kristofer Munsterhjelm km_elmet at t-online.de
Wed Nov 8 11:07:03 PST 2017

On 11/08/2017 06:05 PM, Rob Lanphier wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I see this article making the rounds among some of my friends:
> <https://www.axios.com/researchers-propose-a-gaming-solution-to-gerrymandering-2507567048.html>
> I haven't done the deep dive on this yet, and have some gut instinct
> reactions, but I'm curious: what do you all think?  Assuming dividing
> states into voting districts is a necessary evil, is this as good a
> way as any to do it?

I suppose it might lead to "bipartisan gerrymanders", where the parties 
reach an agreement about how which incumbents should survive until the 
next election, rather than the voters being the ones to choose. In 
effect, you would get something between closed party list and SNTV, with 
two parties.

Furthermore, the proposal doesn't specify who gets to participate in the 
cake-cutting process. If it's the parties who are currently in power, 
rather than the cake-cutting process being done just after the election 
(before seats are given out), then incumbent parties could cooperate to 
block a growing challenger party by cracking the challenger party's 
support across multiple districts. Thus it could strengthen Duverger's law.

I would prefer the independent commission solution if the commissions 
can be trusted to be independent. If they can't be, then closed party 
list with a (variable, implicit) threshold could be preferrable to the 
kind of one-sided gerrymander that exists now.

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