Sunday, October 02, 2011

Regerrymandering Part II: Equal Population at what cost?: Columbus Library Edition

There are some really interesting lines drawn in the Utah Legislature's 2011 Regerrymandering maps. They've got equal population in their Congressional districts, but at what cost?

Take, for example, the lines drawn around Salt Lake City's Columbus Library:

This is an area between roughly i-80 and 3000 South and 300 and 900 East. There are a few interesting lines here (like the fact that putting the golf course in the purple district make the lines look less puzzle like). Let's zoom in on the really interesting line:

The boundary here runs down 500 East. If you live on the east side of 500 East along here, you are in the yellow district and your Congressman will live somewhere between Bountiful and Blanding. If you live on the west side of the street, it gets a little more complex.

The first 5 houses south of the freeway are in the yellow district. Then we have 3 houses, the library, and two more houses in the purple district. Then there are six houses in the yellow district, and then purple again the rest of the way to 2700 South.

Why did they do this? It's simple: Even though there is some wiggle room (the districts don't have to be exactly the same), they wanted to make the districts exactly the same. They did this so that when the citizens of Utah pointed out that their maps were crazy puzzle pieces, they could say "well, they are equal."

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