Using Outlier Analysis to Detect Partisan Gerrymanders: A Survey of Current Approaches and Future Directions

17 Election Law Journal 286 (2018)

16 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2018 Last revised: 19 Dec 2018

Date Written: September 1, 2018

Abstract

The prospect of convincing courts to intervene in partisan gerrymandering and find it unlawful has inspired a great deal of research and, recently, public attention. But how can neutral parties such as courts and independent redistricting commissions discern when a district map is unfairly gerrymandered? We review the caselaw and the leading measures of substantive fairness, explaining why, alone, they are unlikely to be sufficient for neutral decision makers to ascertain gerrymanders. We then explain the concept of outlier analysis, a particularly promising intervention into the field, but one that is computationally challenging, as it requires generating a sample of reasonable district maps. We review the major approaches to assembling these samples, and we present recommendations for improvement and future research that could help lead to the development of a consensus approach to assessing whether a map is gerrymandered.

Keywords: gerrymander, gerrymandering, elections, redistricting, partisan, constitutional

Suggested Citation

Ramachandran, Gowri and Gold, Dara, Using Outlier Analysis to Detect Partisan Gerrymanders: A Survey of Current Approaches and Future Directions (September 1, 2018). 17 Election Law Journal 286 (2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3263808

Gowri Ramachandran (Contact Author)

Southwestern Law School ( email )

3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States

Dara Gold

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

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