The health of democracies, of whatever type and range, depends on a wretched technical detail-electoral procedure. All the rest is secondary.
In the aftermath of the decennial census, reapportionment and its wayward stepchild gerrymandering have again become topics of the hour. In 1991 or 1992, based on the new census, state legislatures will establish new boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts. In order to conform to the constitutional mandate that districts have equal populations -"one person, one vote" -states will have to redraw district lines to account for population shifts that have accumulated over the past ten years. Yet reapportionment, made necessary by fidelity to democratic principles, also will bring with it gerrymandering. Gerrymandering, broadly speaking, is any manipulation of district lines for partisan purposes. There are different varieties of gerrymandering, including racial gerrymandering, remedial racial gerrymandering, and collusive bipartisan gerrymandering. 8 Partisan gerrymandering, the most common kind and the subject of this paper, is undertaken by the political party in control of a state legislature to help itself and injure its competitor.
Polsby, Daniel D. and Popper, Robert D.
"The Third Criterion: Compactness as a Procedural Safeguard Against Partisan Gerrymandering,"
Yale Law & Policy Review: Vol. 9
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylpr/vol9/iss2/6