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Congressional Redistricting Less Contentious When Resolved ­sing Computer Algorithm

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In Wisconsin in 2016, Republican-led redistricting was struck down by a federal district court as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander., and

Researchers at the University of Illinois have proposed a computer algorithm that could make congressional districting fairer for constituents.

Credit: Stephen Wolf

Researchers at the University of Illinois have proposed a computer algorithm that could ease congressional districting and make the process fairer for constituents.

"One thing we are very keen on is making sure that we are using publicly available data so that everything we are doing is very transparent, with the same data that would be available to other districting stakeholders," says Illinois' Douglas M. King.

The geographically-based and data-driven algorithm would enable users to specify the goal that guides the creation of the districts, and then generate the districts computationally while enforcing other requirements, such as each district being contiguous.

The researchers say their algorithm accelerates computations by collecting insights from state geography. They analyze population and political affiliation to illustrate the algorithm's computational results, which produces contiguous district shapes more efficiently.

"As data scientists who study and analyze algorithms, we bring a nonpartisan approach to this problem," says Illinois professor Sheldon H. Jacobson.

From Illinois News Bureau
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