Introduction to Geography: People, Places, and Environment, Global Edition

Published by Pearson
ISBN 10: 1-29206-126-X
ISBN 13: 978-1-29206-126-9

Chapter 11 - A World of States - Review and Discussion Questions - Page 479: 6


Gerrymandering is the redistricting of an electorate to unfairly benefit the people in power in government and to disadvantage the party that is out of power so that the latter will have a difficult time winning elections; There are two ways in which gerrymandering is done: 1.The districts are drawn so that the number of people in districts are uneven. The result of such a practice is that the votes cast by some electors (voters) will have more weight than the votes of others. 2, District lines are drawn to exclude or include certain types of voters--democratic, republican, minorities, immigrants, specific ethnic groups. This can be done to give the party in power and advantage and to disadvantage the party out of power. In 1962 the US supreme Court ruled that for state and local government elections the number of voters in each electoral district must be substantially equal.

Work Step by Step

In democratic countries people elect representatives to run the government for them. Usually, a country is divided into electoral districts. Each district is awarded the right to elect a certain number of representatives to the legislative body--this is apportionment. But districts have different geographical sizes and different numbers of people/population. Ideally, a each representative should represent an equal number of people throughout the larger electorate. This ideal is difficult to achieve for many reasons-- variation in rates population growth, migration , geographical barriers, and urbanization. As population numbers change from district to district ,new electoral maps have to be drawn to try to make sure that the vote of each citizen has the same value --approximately; this is called redistricting and it is usually done by a committee appointed by the government in power. The problem is that the people in power always want to stay in power, and they are tempted to, and often do redistrict to their advantage and to the disadvantage of the political party that is out of power.
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