Bernard Grofman and Thomas L. Brunell

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics


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This article shows how districting practices in the US differ from those in other countries. It specifically addresses the following questions: ‘Who gets to make decisions about redistricting?’; ‘What are the types of criteria by which redistricting plans might be evaluated?’; and ‘Who benefits from a given plan?’ It is thought that these three questions may deal with institutions, ideas, and interests, respectively. A useful way to think about redistricting criteria is in terms of a fivefold division of criteria into ones based, respectively, on person, place, race, political party, and candidate status. In addition, the effect of redistricting is described. It is generally showed that if a person is not interested in redistricting, that person must not be interested in politics, or in democratic theory.

Keywords: redistricting; institutions; ideas; interests; US politics; democratic theory

Article.  7168 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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