While much of the country was well and truly gerrymandered during the last decade, those sensible Iowans managed to get the job with little rancor and even ended up with sensible districts.
Redistricting has become synonymous with political extremism and party warfare. Last year, legislators staged bizarre confrontations in Colorado and Texas over unprecedented attempts to change district lines in mid-decade.
But unlike many other states, in 2001 the
Legislature was able to re-draw its congressional and state legislative districts with little controversy. Iowa
But can we use a computer to do the work?
Whether or not computerized redistricting would make for good government, it offers some interesting exercises in mathematics and computer science. Algorithms for redistricting exploit techniques from computational geometry, graph theory, combinatorics and optimization methods. Even if such algorithms are never embodied in law, perhaps they can suggest some ideas that would be useful in a more conventional approach to redistricting.I suppose we'll have to wrench districts around according to the power structure of the moment for a few cycles, but what may finally end gerrymandering is the mobility and fickleness of the American public. Districts don't necessarily stay" safe" for long periods.