gerrymander (jĕr´ēmăn´dər, gĕr–), in politics, rearrangement of voting districts so as to favor the party in power. The objective is to create as many districts as possible in areas of known support and to concentrate the opposition's strength into as few districts as possible, and extremely irregular boundary lines are sometimes necessary to obtain the results desired. The term has also been used to describe the similar creation of voting districts to favor the election of a candidate from a specific racial or ethnic group. The U.S. Supreme Court has placed (1964) the vague limit of "compact districts of contiguous territory" on such apportionment schemes, and also has reversed redistricting where there is evidence of racially based gerrymandering. The origin of the term, though by no means the origin of the practice, was in such an arrangement made by the Massachusetts Jeffersonians when Elbridge Gerry was governor.

See E. C. Griffith, The Rise and Development of the Gerrymander (1907, repr. 1974).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Gerrymandering: Selected full-text books and articles

Political Gerrymandering and the Courts By Bernard Grofman Agathon Press, 1990
African Americans and the Politics of Congressional Redistricting By Dewey M.Clayton Garland, 2000
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Pander, Slander, Gerrymander"
Colorblind Injustice: Minority Voting Rights and the Undoing of the Second Reconstruction By J. Morgan Kousser University of North Carolina Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "Real Racial Gerrymandering-Lessons from L. A."
John Hart Ely and the Problem of Gerrymandering: The Lion in Winter By Karlan, Pamela S The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 114, No. 6, April 2005
The Court's Missed Opportunity to Draw the Line on Partisan Gerrymandering: Lulac V. Perry By Brooks, Aaron Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 30, No. 2, Spring 2007
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Voting Rights and Redistricting in the United States By Mark E. Rush Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: Chap. 10 "Malapportionment and Gerrymandering in Other Countries and Alternative Electoral Systems"
Representation in Crisis: The Constitution, Interest Groups, and Political Parties By David K. Ryden State University of New York Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: "Political Groups in Constitutional Law: The New Thicket of Partisan Gerrymandering" begins on p. 51
Reconsidering the Law of Democracy: Of Political Questions, Prudence, and the Judicial Role By Fuentes-Rohwer, Luis William and Mary Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 6, April 2006
The Limits of Law: Essays on Democratic Governance By Peter H. Schuck Westview Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: Chap. 10 "The Thickest Thicket: Partisan Gerrymandering and Judicial Regulation of Politics"
Reordering the World: Geopolitical Perspectives on the Twenty-First Century By William B. Wood; George J. Demko Westview Press, 1999 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. Six "Electoral Geography and Gerrymandering: Space and Politics"
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