The Legal Context for Scientific Redistricting Analysis
NEW TECHNOLOGY AND THE OLD PROBLEMS OF REDISTRICTING, Forthcoming
33 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2011
Date Written: March 28, 2011
2011 marks another decennial redistricting cycle, with much attention focused on new tools or techniques that might facilitate attempts of professional and amateur political scientists to influence the redistricting process. New software packages and quantitative methodologies have generated particular buzz, leading to renewed discussions about the role of technology in the redistricting struggle. This introductory chapter of a forthcoming book on the impact of technology on the redistricting process briefly reviews the history and impact of the redistricting process, and describes the federal and state legal environment for redistricting decisions, including an accessible description of the basic legal requirements and considerations in play. It then seeks to situate the productive opportunities for quantitative input within this legal context. The chapter suggests that a quest to "solve" or automate redistricting wholesale is misguided, but recognizes the profound value of scientific analysis in better informing the nuanced human debate over the political priorities that redistricting should accomplish.
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