Monday, September 21, 2020
Sept. 21, 2020

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Letter: Use computer for redistricting


The Columbian’s previous editorial “Bipartisan Boundaries Key” lauded Washington state as a model for the rest of the country for setting up a bipartisan commission for congressional redistricting (The Columbian, Sept. 7, 2018). But “bipartisan” commissions are still partisan. Many voters still don’t trust such commissions. There have even been death threats and assaults to members of these commissions (as towards Arizona commission chair Colleen Mathis in 2019).

Why not take redistricting to the next step? Let’s take away the human (read politician) element altogether. Let’s delegate the process to mathematics! By using the mathematical concept of “compactness,” redistricting maps can be computer generated in moments, with no humans to blame. Such districts have the least irregular boundaries (more like a clamshell and less like an octopus), and have the advantage of giving voters in each district the least physical distance between each other, for easier person-to-person meetings and discussions.

If adopted, this would have many advantages, including saving much legislative time for other more important issues. Also, it is hard to make death threats to a computer.

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