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Gerrymandering & American Elections

Posted on in Congress · Campaigns & Elections · American Government

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court drew a new map for the state’s 18 congressional districts after it ruled the previous map violated the state’s constitution due to partisan gerrymandering. This week’s Lecture Spark discusses recent and upcoming court decisions as well as the history behind gerrymandering. 

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt, a debate question, as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for Gerrymandering & American Elections

 

Links

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Issues New Congressional Map To Replace Gerrymandered One
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/pennsylvania-new-map_us_5a8b2cb6e4b0a1d0e12c1287

New Pennsylvania map gives Democrats big boost in midterms
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/19/pennsylvania-redistrict-democrats-midterms-354432

Republican challenge to Pennsylvania map likely to fail
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/20/pennsylvania-elections-redistricting-map-midterms-356522

Why the new Pennsylvania map is a ‘huge’ deal in the fight for House control
https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/20/politics/pennsylvania-map-q-and-a/index.html

Partisan Gerrymandering Has Benefited the GOP, Analysis Shows
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/partisan-gerrymandering-has-benefited-gop-analysis-shows-n776436

Geography, Not Gerrymandering, May Explain GOP’s Hold On House
https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2012/11/15/165230606/geography-not-gerrymandering-may-hold-key-to-gops-hold-on-house

Simple Steps to Eliminate Gerrymandering
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/howard-steven-friedman/simple-steps-to-eliminate_b_2546929.html

The Map That Popularized the Word ‘Gerrymander’
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/map-gerrymander-redistricting-history-newspaper

Ohio Redistricting Reform Proposal
https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/overview-ohio-redistricting-reform-proposal

Assessment

  • Writing: Explain why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided the state’s old district lines violated the state’s constitution.
  • Debate: The US Supreme Court should declare gerrymandering a violation of the US Constitution.
  • Poll: Gerrymandered congressional and legislative districts are one of the top five issues in American politics.
  • Short Answer: Explain the concept of a gerrymandered district.

Current events quiz:

1) Gerrymandering is a recent phenomena in American politics. (T/F)

2) The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the state legislature to draw the state’s congressional districts. When it refused, the Court redrew them on its own. (T/F)

3) Partisanship in the US Senate is largely due to gerrymandering. (T/F)

4) Gerrymandering is the process of

a. Redrawing congressional district every 10 years

b. Choosing members of the US Senate

c. Redrawing districts to benefit one party over another

d. Choosing members of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court

5) Gerrymandering is largely a _____ action.

a.legal

b.Constitutional

c.Historical

d.Partisan

Answers:

1) False

2) True

3) False

4) C

5) D