# Joint mathematics meeting special session to tackle redistricting

January 05, 2009WASHINGTON, DC - How should we draw voting districts? Our democracy depends on "one person, one vote," and the idea that each of us counts equally when it comes to electing government officials. Yet, advances in computing and mathematics have enabled computer-enhanced gerrymandering in many states. The resulting districts, while equal in number of people, often have bizarre shapes that favor those in power over challengers in ways never before possible.

Currently, about 400 of the 435 Congressional districts are considered "safe" in a given election year. What would happen if mathematicians and other experts designed the system, rather than politicians? What can mathematical approaches tell us about better or worse solutions, both in theory and in practice?

SEA Board Member Dr. Daniel Goroff, together with Dr. Daniel Ullman of The George Washington University, has organized a Special Session at the 2009 Joint Mathematics Meeting to discuss the problem of redistricting. Top experts and practitioners in redistricting law, political science, statistics, game theory, computer science, and mathematics will discuss both imaginative proposals as well as the practical difficulties of improving how we draw voting districts in the United States at the Marriot Wardman Park on January 8, 2009, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. EST.

The Program:

- The Mathematical Redistricting Problem, Daniel Ullman, The George Washington University
- The Law and Policy of Redistricting, Richard Pildes, NYU School of Law
- A Proposal for Redistricting Reform: A Model State Constitutional Amendment, Sam Hirsch, Jenner & Block LLP
- The Promises and Perils of Optimal Redistricting, Micah Altman, Harvard University
- The Redistricting Problem: Second-Order Bias, Michael McDonald, George Mason University
- Lessons from a Court-Appointed Nonpartisan Redistricter, Nathaniel Alfred Persily, Columbia University
- Partisan Fairness in Districting, Andrew Gelman and David Epstein, Columbia University
- Empirical Consequences of Redistricting in the U.S., James Snyder, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- A Fair Division Solution to the Problem of Redistricting, Zeph Landau, University of California, Berkeley and Ilona Yershov and Oneil Reid, City College of New York
- A Measure of Bizarreness, Christopher Chambers and Alan Miller, California Institute of Technology
- A New Approach to Measuring the Racial Impact of Redistricting, Jonathan Katz, California Institute of Technology, Andrew Gelman, Columbia University, and Gary King, Harvard University
- Drivers of redistricting trends, Michael Teitelbaum, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
- Will contiguous redistricting create competitive races for legislative elections? Richard Freeman, Harvard University
- Reflections upon almost 30 years involvement with redistricting, Charles Hampton, The College of Wooster and Calvin College

-end-

The organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of the Russell Sage Foundation. For more information on redistricting, visit our website at www.SHARP.SEforA.org/redistricting.Scientists and Engineers for America (SEA) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to facilitating evidence-based decision making at all levels of government. Visit us on the web: SHARP.SEforA.org.

Scientists and Engineers for America

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