Distributing a Gerrymandering Antidote

Theodore Banken, “Distributing a Gerrymandering Antidote”
Mentor: Matthew Petering, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering
Poster #19

Redistricting, the act of redrawing political districts, is an important process in American democracy, used to ensure all voters are accounted for and equally heard. However, gerrymandering, which is the act of manipulating district borders to favor a certain party, threatens this process. Recently, both major U.S. political parties have participated in gerrymandering, exaggerating their power in state legislature and in Congress. My mentor, Dr. Matthew Petering, employs a redistricting algorithm to make fair maps in order to combat this issue. I survey the severity of gerrymandering in each state, according to several fairness criteria. I analyze maps generated by Dr. Petering’s redistricting algorithm to see that they meet legal requirements and fairness criteria and compare them to current maps and other human maps drawn based on similar data.