The Rise of the Hal-mander: Is Gerrymandering by Algorithm the Next Frontier of Partisan Gerrymandering?

By Harry A. Levin
July 10, 2023

We cannot automate partisan gerrymandering out of existence, but we might perpetuate it through automation. Every ten years, around the United States, state legislatures and independent commissions draw new districts for congressional and state legislative elections, and many of these mapmakers rely on complex software and computer algorithms. A redistricting consultant can use an algorithm to generate thousands of gerrymandered maps that comply with state and federal redistricting requirements. Reformers also craft redistricting proposals through algorithms. Like the consultant who generates thousands of gerrymandered maps, a reformer can generate thousands of nongerrymandered maps that comply with state and federal redistricting requirements. Whether to gerrymander more efficiently under the cover of a facially neutral algorithm or to prevent gerrymandering by handing control to a facially neutral algorithm, states might consider an automated redistricting process.

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