A Computational Approach to Unbiased Districting
Mathematical and Computer Modelling, Vol. 48, 2008
11 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 24, 2010
In the context of discrete districting problems with geographical constraints, we demonstrate that determining an unbiased districting turns out to be a computationally intractable (NP-complete) problem. This raises doubts as to whether an independent jury will be able to come up with a “fair” redistricting plan in case of a large population. We also show that, in the absence of geographical constraints, an unbiased districting can be implemented by a simple alternating-move game among the two parties.
Keywords: redistricting, gerrymandering, NP-complete problems
JEL Classification: D72
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