Gerrymandering: The Movie [October 6, 2010 at Ford School]

This is a good extra credit project for classes:

Gerrymandering: The Movie
October 6, 2010
Special Free Screening/Discussion, sponsored by Ford School

One segment of the movie discusses prison-based gerrymandering. Due to census residence rules, prisoners are counted in their institutions, not where they come from/will move back to. This can have an effect on the districts with big prison populations, often in white, rural areas. For more info see the following website:

Prisoners of the Census

In May 2011, the Census Bureau will be publishing on its FTP site the state, county, tract and block level counts for group quarters. This national file will be the same file as will later appear as Table P41 in Summary File 1. This will allow jurisdictions to remove the group quarters populations (prisoners, college students, etc.) for the purpose of redistricting.

Finally, while gerrymandering is a real issue, sometimes what looks like gerrymandering is not. Take a look at an analysis of the Florida Congressional delegation following the 2000 election.

Tobler’s Law, Urbanization, and Electoral Bias: Why Compact, Contiguous Districts are Bad for the Democrats
Jowei Chen and Jonathan Rodden
We conduct legislative districting simulations using only the apolitical criteria of drawing compact and contiguous districts. We show that the Republican party naturally wins a disproportionately large share of legislative seats in Florida, even without gerrymandering. This result emerges because Democratic voters tend to live in highly concentrated, urban cores, thus “wasting” their electoral strength on a number of landslide Democratic districts. Republican voters are geographically dispersed more evenly throughout the hinterlands, allowing the Republican party to win a disproportionate share of districts by a slight margin.

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