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4 Nw. Interdisc. L. Rev. 89 (2011)
Non-Compactness as Voter Exchange: Towards a Constitutional Cure for Gerrymandering

handle is hein.journals/nwilr4 and id is 95 raw text is: NON-COMPACTNESS AS VOTER EXCHANGE: TOwARDS A
Shlomo Angel* and Jason Parent'*
The best way to protect the gerrymander is to deny the measurability of
compactness.                                      - John K. Wildgen'
This essay proposes a novel compactness standard for
courts to identify at least the worst cases of gerrymandering
and to provide a remedy. This standard is based on the
perception of gerrymandering as aggressive voter exchange,
an exchange that distorts the shapes of election districts and
renders them non-compact by expelling voters living close
by and exchanging them for voters living further away.
Aggressive voter exchange involves discrimination against
large numbers of voters-possibly a majority of voters in
some districts-only because of their voting preferences or
their minority status. This form of discrimination, we argue,
is prohibited by the First and the Fourteenth Amendments.
The proposed standard requires that a majority share of the
area of any election district be contained in the Equal-Land-
Area Circle, a circle about the center of the district that has
the same land area in the state as that of the district. Seven
percent of district shapes in 1996 and ten percent in 2004
did not conform to this standard.
Dr. Shlomo Angel, Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, The Woodrow
Wilson School, Princeton University; and Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning, the
Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University; Address for
correspondence: 284 Lafayette Street, Apt 3B, New York, NY 10012. Tel.: 212-925-
9055. Cell: 646-578-4821. Email: sangel@princeton.edu.
t Jason Parent, Doctoral student and GIS specialist at the Center for Land Use
Education and Research (CLEAR), Natural Resources Management and Engineering,
University of Connecticut.
t The authors are indebted to a number of people who helped with various
conceptual, legal, and measurement issues: Professor Richard Pildes provided the initial
encouragement for the work as well as invaluable critical comments all along; Professor
Roderick Hills helped us revise the conceptual framework and focus our attention on the
importance of the centers of districts; and Professor Michael Heller introduced the notion
of the asymmetric standard. Adam Gitlin focused us on the evolutionary aspect of this
work; and Professors Daniel Civco and Gershon Ben Shakhar provided critical technical
' John K. Wildgen, Fractal Geometry and the Boundaries of Voting Districts, in


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