University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Andrew Smith, Department of Political Science
Did Gerrymandering Affect The Congressional Elections of 2016? And Did Gerrymandering Suppress The Minority Votes In The Elections of 2016?
Gerrymandering, the practice of drawing legislative districts that favors a political party, plays an important part in elections conducted in the United States. This practice which began in the early years of the nation has been accused by many to have created a lot of the problems encountered in today’s politics. Gerrymandering is said to have a negative impact by decreasing competitiveness in Congress as well as increasing the level of polarization in Congress. These criticisms are significant because they pinpoint the root of the problem in Congress with respect to the lack of bipartisanship and inability to pass any bill without a political fiasco. And if these assumptions are accurate brings us a step closer to finding a lasting solution to the dysfunction in the U.S. Congress. Recently, gerrymandering has seen increased scrutiny, and cases from Maryland and Wisconsin are currently being considered by the Supreme Court. As such, the researcher evaluates the effect of gerrymandering in the 2016 congressional election and if gerrymandering suppressed minority votes in the 2016 congressional election. The researcher does this by looking at the impact of gerrymandering in states that recently have had cases before the courts (Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, as well as New Hampshire) to understand the impact redistricting had on Congressional elections of 2016 following the 2000 and 2010 redistricting process. As well as comparing the differences between the election data of 2016 congressional election with that of 2008, right before the congressional redistricting of 2010. The data acquired from that comparison is further analyzed and then showcased to explain any potential impact of gerrymandering in the 2016 congressional election.