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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gerrymandering

Electoral districts display some very strange perimeters.

As I was perusing the vote-map for the house health-care vote, I happened upon the map in the article. For those of your unfamiliar with Utah geography, please note that all three electoral districts reach deep into the heart of Utah's liberal center, Salt Lake City. While generally respecting major geographical or political boundaries elsewhere in the state, I find it hard to understand our current house boundaries as anything but an attempt at political divide and conquer. Salt Lake County is certainly the majority of Utah's population, but to reach so deeply and divisively into the county smacks of political opportunism.

The districts were drawn years ago, and will almost certainly be redrawn after the 2010 census. But it will certainly be worthwhile to apply some GIS analysis to both the 2000 and 2010 districts to determine if there is not some other division of territory that can be made that might have a better perimeter to area ratio, and thereby be less gerrymandered.