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Gerrymandering affects our electoral representation because it is a way for a party in power to rig the voting process and favor themselves in elections. In the U.S., state legislatures have the power to redraw districts every 10 years, right after the census gives statistics on where the population is located in a state. The basic laws for redrawing these legislative boundaries are to keep it compact, which means to limit any jagged edges or skinny extensions; keep it contiguous, which means to create one continuous shape with no “land islands”; and to keep a population equality, which means to keep virtually the same amount of people in each district of the state. Many legislatures bend these laws using gerrymandering. When a party does it to favor only themselves, then it is partisan gerrymandering. If two parties benefit, then it is bi-partisan gerrymandering. The latter is used to keep existing incumbents in office, and ruins the unpredictability in voting. Both these forms can be achieved in one of two basic ways. The first is through cracked, or wasted, redistricting. In this, the opposing group is spread apart over multiple districts to dilute their voting power in each. The second form is packed, or excess, redistricting where the opposing party is concentrated in to one district to reduce their voting power in the others. No matter what they use though, it still affects our representation since the districts we live in are already set up to have a majority of one party. Unless a huge group of people suddenly decide to switch parties, one party can stay in power for a lot of years. Technically, gerrymandering is against the rules of Congress, but it still goes on today.
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