How next-gen computer generated maps detect partisan gerrymandering

Science Magazine

Lawyers working on gerrymandering cases tend to use ensemble and symmetry methods in tandem, says Ruth Greenwood, an attorney in Cambridge, Mass., with PlanScore and the nonpartisan nonprofit Campaign Legal Center. That’s because each alternative map can also be evaluated for symmetry using the various tests. Averaging symmetry scores in the ensemble maps and comparing those values with the symmetry scores of the real-life map can illuminate when the difference is stark and therefore can’t be chalked up to any “natural advantage.” Using all methods together also means that when a map’s fairness is questioned, the lawyers can show that “on any metric, the result is terrible,” Greenwood says. 

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