Gerrymandering: Is Geometry Silencing Your Vote?

Gerrymandering: Is Geometry Silencing Your Vote?

31 thoughts on “Gerrymandering: Is Geometry Silencing Your Vote?

  1. Hmmm… Unless Iโ€™m missing something really basic here, the problem isnโ€™t jerrymandering, but that voter *districts*, rather than individual voters, elect candidates. Voter districts need to become strictly clerical โ€” to โ€œdivide and conquerโ€ the problem of reporting the popular vote. If which candidate wins a given voter district weโ€™re made irrelevant, then the shapes and makeup of each voter district would make no difference whatsoever.

  2. Another thing that would reduce the effect of Gerrymandering would be to see voters vote less based on political identity.

  3. How about Rep. Beyer's Fair Representation Act which implements Single Transferable Vote for Congressional Districts, with 3 to 5 at-large, ranked-choice Representatives per District. WE SO NEED THIS!!!!!!!!

  4. To preface this comment, I want to start by saying that I agree 100% that gerrymandering really screws up elections. Along with this problem sits the electoral college, aka the reason Trump is president instead of Hillary Clinton who clearly won the popular vote. BUT, these problems are turning our elections into essentially a positive feedback loop that continuously makes our elections less and less truly democratic. On top of gerrymandering and the electoral college, which by themselves make all votes not count as equal, these problems are amplified by discouraged voters (especially young voters and minority voters) and the cycle continues. Young people are the future of this country, but they are a very small percentage of the voice. We have grown up in an era where voting is a privilege to all citizens regardless of race or gender; I think we are taking that right for granted when we shouldn't be.
    So even though it is important to understand the implications of these problems, I feel it is still VITALLY important to encourage people to vote. I am a college student in Alabama and I just this week watched how the African American community as well as young people helped Doug Jones win a seat in the Senate. Nobody thought that enough people from the Bible belt in Alabama would come together and stand against Roy Moore's disgusting self, BUT WE DID IT!!
    For a long time felt like my vote did not matter so I thought "when I turn 18 I probably won't vote anyway." However after going to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (Go Blazers) and having the chance to broaden my world view and become more cultured and empathetic, I realized that opting out of voting is for myself, in a huge sense, a poor use of white privilege. For a lot of people, minorities in particular, elected officials can change their lives dramatically. As we have seen in the past year, travel bans, immigration policies, and even just verbal empowerment of bigotry are affecting SO many people negatively. So when elections come around I not only feel that it is my responsibility to vote for what I believe in; I feel that it is my responsibility to go vote for all of the people who will be directly effected if I don't. So please try to encourage millennials to vote even if gerrymandering and the electoral college are in place, because if our generation doesn't start making our voices heard, we are going to be the ones stuck with the repercussions for years and years to come.
    On a lighter note, I love this channel and I have binge watched it for the past day and a half after finishing finals. I really love the lighthearted yet firm attitude that you all take while addressing some serious social issues. PBS studios has me hooked on another one of their channels!!

  5. States send two state representatives each (senators). Since this is a statewide position, it would be done without concern for a district.
    The number of house representatives determined by population. Districts could be fixed and of roughly equal continuous area and population and redrawn whenever the number of representatives change. The drawing of the districts would be done by a independent committee based on drawing rules.
    An alternate thought is to assign each person a state citizenship and through that a representative, eliminating the need for a district to define what part of the population a house representative represents.

  6. I think it naive to just say that racial gerrymandering is illegal as if that means it never happens anymore. It is still common in many places and in the current political climate and with the recent Supreme Court ruling people feel empowered to do it. There is still a LOT of work to be done to fight racial bias in America (and in ourselves). It's pretty deeply entrenched.

  7. Goddamn geometry. Speaking of voting, y'all should look at alternative voting systems. CGP Grey did some good videos on them.

  8. Huh. Illegal vote tampering made legal by law makers. How is this the vision of our founding fathers?

  9. Either 1. Get rid of districts and vote at large like continental Europe. Yes, a constitutional change. You cannot decouple racial and political gerrymandering because Republicans are so white. 2. Use sortition (chose representatives by lot).

  10. STV solves all your problems! (In Gerrymandering)

    CGP Grey Video:

  11. I like that you guys mentioned possibly using computer algorithms for redistricting, but I think something that is very often overlooked is that you can't totally remove human bias from the process. Algorithms are programmed by humans, and our biases will be baked into the algorithms (hopefully subconsciously and not willingly!) whether we want them to be or not.

  12. ุญุจุฌู…ูŠู„ Kร‹ลธLร„ Kร‹ลธLร„ Lล’Vรซ โ€Žุญุจุฌู…ูŠู„ says:

    That damn Gerrymander. I always knew he was a trouble maker. Ever since I saw him licking melted ice cream off a police car ๐Ÿ‘…๐Ÿš”๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ‘€; I knew he wasn't right. Damn! Damn! Damn…!!! (In my Florida Evans voice.) ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™‰๐Ÿ™Š๐Ÿ’๐Ÿค๐Ÿฃ?

  13. or you just get a voting system like in Sweden where Every vote counts since half of the votes don't get thrown away when a party winns in a district

  14. Would be great if you did an episode on fair(er) election systems and methods, such as IRV and others. Would be great if some of the theory is considered (such as Arrow's impossibility theorem, and other theory), but even just talking about this important improvement to US voting (and other countries, too, of course) would be much appreciated.

  15. I really like how you include links to sources and a useful description for your videos. Keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. Hi! First of all – very interesting and content related series. I am great fan of that kind of activities on YouTube. It is surprising to me that you n US have to cope whit such a problem. I thought you, as old democracy, have developed some civic methods to automatically reduce that kind of political abuse. Sorry to hear, that its not completely true. How often does it take place? Once a 10 year, or often? Who is doing/approving it? Congress, government? Have opposition any chance to protest or stop it? Greetings form Poland.

  17. Here is how I would redistrict areas:

    Step 1: Have a computer algorithm draw a map using the Shortest Split-line Algorithm

    Step 2: Have an independent, state-run, commission review this map and make any reasonable modifications due to historical, geographic, demographic, or any other reasonable concerns

    Step 3: Check the modified map against an algorithm method similar to Professor Wendy Tam Cho's Computational Method for Identifying Extreme Redistricting Plans, to identify any partisan bias

    Step 4: Have another independent, state-run, commission (provided with the information from Step 3, as well as information relating to any other comments, complaints, concerns, or issues) approve or veto the map and (if vetoed) send it back to either step 1 (if sent back to step 1, it may be prudent to establish a new independent commission) or step 2 of the process.

    This whole process should take less than 3-6 months. If a solution cannot be settled by the deadline, another map that would be near identical to the Shortest Split-line map will be automatically selected.


    There are also many other improvements that need to be made to the United States electoral systems, such as:

    * Popular Election of the U.S. President

    * A Switch from First Past the Post to Ranked Choice Voting or Proportional Systems (most likely with multi-member districts)

    * Improving Enfranchisement, through automatic voter registration, or easy voter registration (probably through the mail or online), easy voting (like early voting, voting my mail – which might be the most efficient, etc…), restoring voting rights to incarcerated convicts and former convicts, etc…

    * Enacting measures to improve voter information, such as improving the state of Presidential Debates and Forums, certain advertising rules, and just having more public policy education in general.

    * Removing money's influence from elections, possibly through policies laid out in the American Anti-Corruption Act.

    * The following are more extreme and are not necessary, but I have heard compelling arguments that we should make voting mandatory with a $20.00 – $50.00 fine for not voting, and lowering the voting age to 16.

    * Etc…

    A lot of these may require a Constitutional Amendment though. There are some ways around the Constitution however, such as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. All these are just to improve the election process in the U.S. though. There are many other ways to improve the performance of government and elected officials.

  18. Being a GIS Technician and geography wiz, I can testify to how easily gerrymandering could be. Political and census data is very easy to draw and manipulate to your advantage.
    Being a Texan, this is frustrating because so many districts are clearly gerrymandered.

  19. AI. That's a job for artificial intelligence.
    Train a neural network on "how to draw the line as fair as possible while staying legal".
    And once the results are good enough, the AI decides, and everyone just shut up.
    For more transparency (literally), make the program open source and let anyone look at it.

    Now, if only politician were not 25 year late when it comes to technology…..

  20. I'm glad here in france we're a little bit more advanced than you are… of course we still have got election polls (hello bandwagon effect), a mathematically partially biased voting system, and a scandalous way of dividing media speech time, but national research has already tested a new voting method which is mathematically correct (translated it's "majority judgement", "jugement majoritaire" in french), so I've got hope for the future (we'd need to change the constitution… it's possible but it would set a sixth republic just fo fixing this small detail…). With a bit of luck, we'll succeed to restrain polls, restablish speech time equality and the validity of neutral vote (+50% = reorganizing the elections with only new candidates allowed). Plus, we actually already have civil primaries, which aren't a mainstream thing but do exist, if we want to elect a candidate independently of its belonging to the political class. Of course, a common and centralized debate platform wouldn't be a bad idea… but let's end the phantasm now or I'll never stop x)
    Concerning your country… I really whish you good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I need to say it. The US it's not a democracy, it's a representative regime with divisions of powers and a presidential organization. Also, in the founding letter the word democracy is avoided, you can see that in the history books that tell the discussions about it. Even though the gerrymandering is wrong.

  22. I really like this channel and I hope it gets more attention. As a PHY major I've had a long term problem of bringing up science to someone and them replying "well scientists say [tying your shoelaces different] will cure cancer so can we really trust them?". It's always like pulling teeth because the people (and by extension the media) interpret science misunderstanding studies, the scientific method, or how to interpret data. It's an awesome thing that I've only rarely seen come to light, probably the last time getting popular mention was on Jon Oliver's show about a year ago, so stick with it guys I appreciate all the stuff you do.

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