The Legal Process from a Behavioral Perspective

By Stuart S. Nagel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 24
Simplified Bipartisan Computer Redistricting

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. The primary purpose is to describe a simple and politically feasible computer program that can reapportion a legislature or other body of people who represent geographical districts. Its secondary aim is to describe some basic computer programming techniques that can help solve some policy problems that cannot be adequately handled either by traditional noncomputer techniques or by existing computer programs.

The redistricting program proposed is designed to implement the value judgments of those responsible for reapportionment. Not only can it transfer a set of agreed-on values into a concrete plan, it can also provide alternative redistricting plans predicated on conflicting values and thereby facilitate compromise. In addition, the program can provide useful information concerning equality, compactness, and politics for an agreed-on redistricting pattern.

The program enables its user to adjust the relative weight to be given to three significant considerations: first, the relative equality of population among the districts -- the one man-one vote requirement;1

____________________
The writer is especially grateful to Henry F. Kaiser, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, for creating the essence of the moving and revising sections of the computer program, and for providing inspiration on many other points. The writer is also especially grateful for the many helpful insights of John Gilbert, the statistical consultant to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Thanks for helpful comments are also owed to Samuel Gove of the Institute of Government, and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois; William Day of the Illinois Legislative Council; James Weaver of Atlas Chemical Industries; John Whelan of the DuPont Company; Henri Semarne, staff consultant to the California Assembly; Miriam Gallaher, Editorial Consultant to the Behavioral Sciences Center; Lyle Jones, Director of the Psychometric Laboratory at the University of North Carolina; David Couts and Charles Zartman, both of the Arthur D. Little operations research firm, and James Bell of the Stanford Computation Center.
1
See Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533, 558 ( 1964).

-321-

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