Gerrymandering facts for kids
Gerrymandering is when a political group tries to change a voting district to create a result that helps them or hurts the group who is against them. It is named after Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814). Gerrymandering works by wasting votes. It puts more votes of winners into the district they will win so the losers win in another district.
If we have Group A and Group B both trying to win in a district. Group A has 40 votes and Group B has 50. In another district Group A knows Group B will win for sure. Group A changes the voting district so that 11 votes are moved to the other district. Now they will win 40 votes to 39.
Images for kids
Printed in March 1812, this political cartoon was drawn in reaction to the newly drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists. The caricature satirizes the bizarre shape of a district in Essex County, Massachusetts, as a dragon-like "monster". Federalist newspaper editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry's last name.
How gerrymandering can influence electoral results on a non-proportional system. For a state with 3 equally sized districts, 15 voters and 2 parties: Plum (squares) and Orange (circles).In (a), creating 3 mixed-type districts yields a 3–0 win to Plum—a disproportional result considering the statewide 9:6 Plum majority.In (b), Orange wins the urban district while Plum wins the rural districts—the 2–1 result reflects the statewide vote ratio.In (c), gerrymandering techniques ensure a 2–1 win to the statewide minority Orange party.
Electoral divisions in the Sydney area, drawn by the politically independent Australian Electoral Commission.
U.S. congressional districts covering Travis County, Texas (outlined in red) in 2002, left, and 2004, right. In 2003, the majority of Republicans in the Texas legislature redistricted the state, diluting the voting power of the heavily Democratic county by parcelling its residents out to more Republican districts.
Shaw v. Reno was a United States Supreme Court case involving the redistricting and racial gerrymandering of North Carolina's 12th congressional district (pictured).
Gerrymandering Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.