Watching California try to draw more simple, less Gerymandered Districts has been painful in the last few years. I always though the problem was near intractable. Then on our Participative Democracy thread, Alex Bowles introduces us to a computer algorithm.
Gerrymandering is the 800 pound gorilla, the elephant in the living room, and cancer of representative democracy, all rolled into one.
It is why the vast majority of Congressional seats remain ’safe’ in the face of approval ratings that can’t crack 20%, and disapproval ratings that are tracking steadily around 70%.
Here’s a link describing the shortest split-line algorithm method for establishing districts in a truly unbiased fashion. It’s Occam’s Razor applied to Congress (and yes, there will be blood). http://www.rangevoting.org/GerryExamples.html
At the top you can see the results for Alabama today (on the left), which keeps black voters separated from white voters in incredibly elaborate districts and how the computer would draw the districts (on the right). I think this is profound. If 80% of the voters think we are “on the wrong track”, why would Washington Insiders predict that 70% of the incumbents will be returned to office? Because they created one party districts. Then all they had to do was control the party machine and the money to stay in office.
How do we advance this idea of a computer redrawing the election district maps for the whole country? Talk about shaking things up in Washington.