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A Political Redistricting Tool for the Rest of Us

Evan Kleiner (Whitman College) and Albert Schueller (Whitman College)

In the United States, congressional districts are redrawn every ten years based on changes in population revealed by the census. Individual states are responsible for redrawing their congressional districts. Often sophisticated (and expensive) software packages are used to guide redistricting committees when drawing the new boundaries. Much of the cost is due to the fact that redistricting is a fantastically complicated problem. We do not propose to give a definitive way of building political districts. Instead, we offer a glimpse into some of the mathematics and data analysis behind legislative redistricting and offer a simple (and free) applet, derived from Voronoi diagrams, that lets users try their hands at drawing legislative districts based on 2010 census data from our home state of Washington.