Written Assignment #3 Gerrymandering For this discussion, you will need to go to the ReDistricting Game website, play the simulation, and answer the questions at the end of this document: http://www.redistrictinggame.org/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. After playing the game, answer the questions at the end of the instructions. This game is difficult, so if you cannot get your map completed or passed, do not worry. Answer the questions based upon what you learned about gerrymandering trying the game. Make sure your volume is on to hear the introductory remarks. Redistricting happens every ten years to make sure states’ population growth patterns are accounted for in the number of representatives they have in congress. However, redistricting also sets up the districts in which you vote. When redistricting is done illegally and in a partisan manner, your vote can be voided completely. Gerrymandering, or partisan redistricting, ensures that one party will always win in a particular district. The rules of the election are essentially rigged in favor of one party over another regardless of how you vote (especially if you vote for the party chosen to fail in that district). Many people do not participate because they feel their vote does not count….It may not count because of gerrymandering. Texas has a colorful relationship with gerrymandering, and as recently as 2003, we have had the Department of Justice rule that our redistricting map is illegal. Redistricting in Texas is highly political and highly partisan. Since the 2010 census and corresponding redistricting, more lawsuits are in the process of determining if Texas yet again is in violation of gerrymandering. Discussion Instructions: Click on “Play the Game.” Choose “Mission 2: Partisan Gerrymandering by clicking on BASIC. Click to continue. Choose the political party you’d like to represent. Click to continue. Read about your Mission 2 goals—what you’re supposed to achieve in redrawing the districts. Click on “Begin Mission Two.” Use your mouse to click and drag district boundaries. Pay attention to how the representatives react, the districts’ party percentages, and the demographic/population stats on the bottom-‐left corner. Remember blue represents Democrats and red represents Republicans. Once you feel you’ve achieved your party’s goals, Click on #2 Get Feedback. Scroll over each representative to read what they have to say. If you have not met the mission’s goal, go back and redraw the map again. If you have, click on #3 Submit for Approval. Keep following these steps until your map passes the state legislature, the governor signs it, and the court approves it. Next, click on the homepage again to start a new game. This time, under Mission #5: Reform, find Automated Redistricting (the ″shortest splitline″ algorithm) in the bottom right-‐hand corner and click on Read. This is an example of a type of redistricting reform that redistricts without consideration of demographics or partisanship. This is what Texas looks like when redistricting is done without partisanship: http://rangevoting.org/Splitline2009/tx.png (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. This is what actually occurred in Texas: http://rangevoting.org/TexasRedist.jpg (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Look at how the party outcomes changed in Houston! ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS ONLINE After completing Mission #2 and reading about a possible reform in Mission #5, what was the most difficult, most surprising, and the easiest aspect of partisan redistricting? The perspective of the ReDistricting Game is obviously that gerrymandering is wrong. Can you think of any positive outcomes from gerrymandering? How might gerrymandering affect elections outcomes, polarization, or violations of the Voting Rights Act? What are concerns for our quality of democracy? Skim the following partisan gerrymandering case overviews: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/11/us/gerrymander-court-north-carolina-pennsylvania.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Racial gerrymandering is already considered illegal and unconstitutional. Why hasn’t partisan gerrymandering been determined unconstitutional? How might racial and partisan gerrymandering be similar? How might they be different? Why are the courts/judges divided about partisan gerrymandering?
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