"It is not easy to make the redistricting process understandable -- and near-miraculous to be able to do so in a highly entertaining way. But that is just what The Redistricting Game does, to the gratitude of all who want Americans to understand how this process is working, and why it needs real reform."
- Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute
Gerrymandering or the partisan manipulation of districts has a very long history. The term gerrymander was created in response to a political cartoon featured in a Massachusetts newspaper in 1812 – its name a combination of Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry and the odd shape that looked like a salamander.
Since then mapmakers have continued to gerrymander but now use computers and sophisticated software, rather than paper and pencil.
Computers make it much easier to strategically divide communities to favor one party over another. Ohio has districts that stretch for miles in and out of areas that have little if anything in common. And more importantly, the partisan makeup of the districts marginalizes one political party and creates truly uncompetitive congressional elections.
How does the political party in power manipulate districts to its advantage?
The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham put together “the best explanation of gerrymandering you will ever see” but sometimes the best way to learn about gerrymandering is to make a map yourself.
The Redistricting Game was created by the University of Southern California Game Innovation Lab for USC Annenberg Center for Communication. The Redistricting Game allows players to create gerrymanders and helps players explore how the abuses of districts lines can undermine the system.
It’s not as irresistible some video games, but after a few rounds of the Redistricting Game, you’ll be convinced that we need to end congressional gerrymandering.