Gerrymandering has been in the news especially since the recent Pennsylvania Special election where the winner would have to run in a different district this fall because of the Penn. Supreme Court throwing out the gerrymander set of districts they currently have. Then too I read an article where the US Supreme Court was a bit hassled with the prospect of being a policeman on redistricting in the computer age.
It has occurred to me over the years that what the Court needs to do is hire a mathematician to determine if their constraints of compact, contiguous, and equally sized (in terms of population) districts are able to generate a unique (single) solution for a geographic area (a state) with a population density that varies (the real world). If not, what models could be used to generate districts without taking voting patterns into account?
Often state legislatures claim they district the way they do to preserve community representation. If one looks at the relative geographic sizes of urban versus rural districts in any state, the notion of representing communities comes into question. A district in the heart of NY City compared to a rural upstate district belies the notion of community. So, it may be possible to meet the constitutional standards set by the court and have the smallest variance in geographic size of districts as well.
In short, let a mathematician see if he or she can prove the Supreme Court standards are possible (a theorem proof). If so, the Court would not have to police redistricting issues, but simply require the states to apply the model. If a mathematician cannot prove the standards are possible then let the mathematician demonstrate algorithms, free of voting patterns, that come the closest in any given state.
Yes, I realize how ridiculous my approach is, but then it doesn’t smack of partisanship and the evils thereof.