Gerrymandering and Political Gridlock in the US

In the recent decades gerrymandering became one of the effective tactics to guarantee the outcomes of general elections. Since elected officials know that they are safe in the next election cycle, they only are to appeal to one partisan interest group. This discourages congressmen from working across party lines and leads to congressional gridlock. In this paper we discuss our approach to measuring gerrymandering of a congressional district. Starting with the ratio of the shape’s area to its perimeter as compactness we analyzed which congressional districts are gerrymandered.

Furthermore, we deployed Partisan Voting Index data to identify Swing districts and districts with one-party leaning. Comparing mean compactness of all three groups we concluded that the Swing districts are less gerrymandered compared to party-aligned ones. We discuss the challenges, results and future work in analyzing congressional data to understand the impact of gerrymandering.