Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Gerrymandering: Reshaping the Right To Vote

October 2017 Bar Bulletin

By Gregg Bertram

Gerrymandering has come to the forefront during a time when the integrity of the voting process itself is under fire. The term gerrymandering is named after a former governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, who was described by biographer George Athan Billias as a “nervous, birdlike little person.”

His primary claim to notoriety was a single impulsive act. While he was in office in 1812, Gerry reconfigured a voting district in the apparent shape of a salamander. The redistricting was intended not so much to favor his party, the Democratic-Republican Party, but to weaken the strength of the opposing Federalist Party. Over time, the salamander...

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