Best explanation of the redistricting problem I’ve seen is Zombie’s Gerrymander 1.01. Thanks.
For the problem, he has no solution. I do.
Every state will have to have contiguous, roughly equal sized population districts.
What is needed is an objective measure of “compactness”.
Here it is: miles of district border.
Linear Programing Problem: minimize the “total” number of miles of district borders, under population constraints.
Proposed rule: Have a prize, of $1,000,000, to the first person or organization which submits the Best redistricting plan for the state, based on the official 2010 Census population numbers.
Each district must be contiguous.
There will be an average number of people per district, of AvP. The maximum difference between a district’s P and AvP is 4% (plus or minus). Each population absolute difference is also counted as a (+) mile for the objective minimization.
Additional border modifications to reduce counted miles:
District Borders which are on a county border are discounted at 50%.
Borders on a city border are discounted at 50% (or an added 10% discount to a county border).
Borders on a school district border are discounted at 20% (or an added 5% to county or city border).
Each contestant shall produce the full map of the districts, with the populations, miles, and discounts, itemized for each district.
Because the Republicans are a majority, getting it right and fair, now, is more important than majority domination now. Tho, if done at Federal level, too — it can be a requirement for any state (like NY or CA?) that comes asking for Fed $ for bailout.
If the Feds have the cash that (blue?) states need … let them change (for the better) to get it.
There’s also a good ReDistricting Game available at USC.