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A Comparative Analysis of Redistricting Institutions in the United States, 2001-02

Michael P. Mcdonald
State Politics & Policy Quarterly
Vol. 4, No. 4, Electoral Redistricting (Winter, 2004), pp. 371-395
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40421527
Page Count: 25
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A Comparative Analysis of Redistricting Institutions in the United States, 2001-02
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Abstract

Legislative redistricting is among the most intensely fought battles in American politics. Through redistricting, political parties seek to control government, incumbents seek job security, and minority groups seek representation. I explore how the various United States redistricting institutions, and the political actors who operate within them, determined the outcomes of the 2001-02 redistricting cycle. I categorize these institutions into two types: redistricting that follows the normal legislative process and that which takes place through a commission. For those states that use the legislative process, when one party controls state government, redistricting results in a partisan gerrymander. When there is divided state government, a bipartisan compromise results from the legislative process. Commission systems differ on membership and voting rules, suggesting two types of commissions: partisan and bipartisan. A partisan commission reliably produces a partisan map, while a bipartisan commission results in a bipartisan compromise.

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