Conflicting Goals of Redistricting: Do Districts That Maximize Competition Reckon with Communities of Interest?

James G. Gimpel*, Laurel Harbridge-Yong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Regardless of who draws the redistricting plan in a state with numerous districts, there are always complaints about the outcome. We suggest that the inherent conflicts among the traditional redistricting criteria make any multi-district plan subject to criticism and vulnerable to litigation. In particular, the mandates to respect communities of interest while drawing competitive districts are frequently irreconcilable. This is because many communities of interest are themselves lopsidedly partisan, and including them whole or undiluted will impede the pathway to achieving an even partisan division in a district's electorate. Examples drawn from North Carolina and Pennsylvania serve to illustrate the constraints that map drafters face, regardless of for whom they are employed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-471
Number of pages21
JournalElection Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • communities of interest
  • partisan competition
  • political geography
  • redistricting
  • traditional redistricting criteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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