Fracking: A Contiguity-Related Redistricting Metric
11 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021
Date Written: June 4, 2021
We add a useful term to the list of geographically defined redistricting criteria. Fracking is defined as a situation in which a county or city or other well-established political subunit is found in two or more discontiguous pieces within the same legislative district. This criterion has been identified by some courts and legislatures but had never been given a name. Fracking can be used as a gerrymandering tool, with fracking that involves pieces whose racial or partisan composition differs from that of the geographic area between the fracks. The name was chosen to resonate with other terms in the redistricting literature that have been applied in the gerrymandering context: namely, cracking, stacking , and packing . Non-fragmentation of political subunits boundaries is included in what are commonly referred to as “traditional redistricting criteria”. The presence of fracking strongly suggests the possibility of intentional racial or partisan gerrymandering.
Keywords: redistricting, gerrymandering, representation
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