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A mathematical look at gerrymandering November 22, 2016 (12:00 PM PST - 01:00 PM PST)
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Location: MSRI: Baker Board Room
Speaker(s) Moon Duchin (Tufts University)
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In the wake of a stunning string of electoral developments in the U.S. and in the world, many of us are thinking about the big picture of election practices.  One of the important organs of our government is the U.S. House of Representatives, which has 435 congresspeople chosen by plurality elections in geographically demarcated districts.  In this cycle, 387 incumbents ran for re-election, and only 8 lost!  Safe seats are one of a host of outcomes that can be achieved by favorable drawing of district boundaries.


In this talk I'll give an overview of apportionment and districting practices—including their civil rights context—and pay particular attention to the metric geometry of gerrymandering.  I'll also plug a new project to train mathematicians as expert witnesses for the coming wave of court cases on redistricting; even if you can't attend this talk, please be in touch if you are interested in hearing more.

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