Political Geography

The World Today

How is gerrymandering like a salamander?

In 1812, Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a law that established an oddly shaped congressional district. It was redrawn by political cartoonists into a salamander-type creature and thus the term gerrymander was born. Gerrymandering is the process of establishing oddly shaped congressional districts in order to include voters from dispersed areas. Gerrymandered districts can be helpful or detrimental to minority groups, depending on who draws the borders. The U.S. courts have found gerrymandering to be a legal method of establishing congressional boundaries.


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