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Measuring the Impact of Redistricting on Communities of Interest in Ohio

Authors: Gillian Prater-Lee*, 1998
Topics: Political Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: political geography, gerrymandering, districting, redistricting, communities of interest
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Protecting communities of interest is a stipulation in the congressional or state redistricting guidelines of fourteen states in the United States. Furthermore, each state defines communities of interest in a different way, including elements such as ethnicity, urban character, media markets, and religion. How one protects communities of interest in districting, and the extent to which communities of interest are distinguishable from other relevant criteria on which districting may or may not be based, such as race and partisanship, is another question. There is little literature, however, to examine how to determine whether communities of interest are adequately represented in districting plans. In this paper I propose a method of analyzing the extent a districting plan protects communities of interest by considering various definitions of communities of interest incorporating census data, determining the partisanship of such communities of interest using precinct level 2016 presidential election data, and then comparing this partisanship to the House of Representatives electoral results in the corresponding districts in Ohio. I build off of existing metrics to determine whether a district is gerrymandered based on partisanship or race, such as the Efficiency Gap (Nicholas Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee 2015) and Gingles standards (Thornburg v. Gingles). I then assess the relationship between partisanship, income, and race in Ohio to determine if districting based on each of these criteria is actually distinct.

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