Gerrymandering: Mathematics & Fairness in Theory & Practice

Join us in welcoming mathematicians Moon Duchin and Mira Bernstein from Tufts University who are 50% of the Boston-based Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group (website and summer school). Their working group studies how shapes of voting districts interact with ideas about healthy democracy. To do this, they think about how single-member districts can achieve fair representation of a population that is diverse in many ways. This talk, they will mix law, civil rights, geometry, and supercomputing to tell a story about activating expertise for real-world impact. Sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

"The U.S. Constitution calls for a census every ten years, followed by freshly drawn congressional districts to evenly divide up the population of each state.  How the lines are drawn has a profound impact on how the elections turn out, especially with increasingly fine-grained voter data available.  We call a district gerrymandered if the lines are drawn to rig an outcome, whether to dilute the voting power of racial minorities, to over represent one political party, to create safe seats for incumbents, or anything else.  Bizarrely-shaped districts are widely recognized as a red flag for gerrymandering, so many jurisdictions require districts to be "compact."  Since this is almost never defined, it's pretty hard to enforce." – Duchin and Bernstein

Moon Duchin

Mathematician, Tufts University

Moon Duchin

Moon Duchin helped found the interdisciplinary Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS).

Mira Bernstein

Mathematician, Tufts University

Mira Bernstein

Mira Bernstein is a mathematician, math educator, and data scientist who holds a research faculty position at Tufts STS.