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The Language of Redistricting Gerrymandering – A form of redistricting in which electoral district boundary lines are modified solely for electoral purposes. This process usually results in the unusual shapes one may see in the map of an election district. Gerrymandering is used to achieve electoral results in favor of a certain political party or to help a particular group such as a racial, religious, or class group.). The term gerrymandering usually has a negative connotation in that it is seen as one party trying to unfairly control an entire district in order to gain success in elections. However, there is a positive view of gerrymandering by people who believe in minority-majority districts, those in which a minority group, such as African Americans or Hispanics, is the majority group in that district, and lines are drawn to maintain that numerical advantage so members of the most populous group are likely to be elected. Packing and cracking – Packing and cracking are different strategies involved with gerrymandering. The goal of packing is to concentrate as many voters of one type into a single electoral district to reduce their influence in other districts. In some cases this may be done to obtain representation for a community of common interest, rather than to dilute that interest over several districts to a point of ineffectiveness. Cracking involves spreading out voters of a particular type among many districts in order to deny them a sufficiently large voting block in any particular district.

Incumbent advantage – the ability that a person who is already an office holder has over his or her challengers in order to gain reelection. Gerrymandering, packing, and cracking are tools used in order to gain an incumbent advantage, by those already in office who draw the new district lines every ten years based on the census.

Redistricting - A process used to change political borders. This usually involves changing electoral districts and constituency boundaries in response to census results. In most states, 36 of them, state legislature has the primary responsibility for creating a redistricting plan. Five states carry out congressional redistricting by an independent or bipartisan commission. Iowa and Maine give independent bodies authority to propose redistricting plans, but preserve the role of


Renew New York Issue-in-Brief: Drawing the Line in New York State  
Renew New York Issue-in-Brief: Drawing the Line in New York State  

Prepared by Uniondale High School and The Wheatley School students, Doyin Akintobi, Jesse Manor, Kharolann Pierre, Candice Sejour, Daniel Wi...