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Last updated 22 Mar 2021
Gerrymandering is the redrawing of congressional or electoral districts in order to gain a political advantage over another party. Redistricting is the process of redrawing electoral district boundaries. Gerrymandering/redistricting can be split into two categories, firstly political and secondly racial. Redistricting in the United States is typically done after a census takes place in order to reflect the changes in population.
Political gerrymandering occurs when one party controls the redistricting of a state, typically done through the Governor or state legislature. When in control, political parties will seek to pack as many of their opponents into each district as possible, resulting in fewer seats for their opponents, but in the seats they do win, they do so by a landslide. Consequently, it allows the original party to pick up the seats that are left. This video by Test Tube news highlights the disparities that have come to exist in states whose congressional districts have been significantly gerrymandered.
Gerrymandering can also occur over the issue of race. When minorities were given the right to vote in the US, some states sought to reduce the voting power of minorities by spreading them thinly across electoral districts to ensure in built white majorities. This practice has been prohibited under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. However, some states have taken the steps to increase the voting power of minorities through redrawing districts to have majorities of those minorities.