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By Carl Parker
For the Record 

Can Computers Save Us?


Last updated 7/19/2022 at 10:05am

Democracy works best when all of the people of the nation participate. Unfortunately, today, less than half of the eligible voters in our country take time to exercise their privilege to vote. The most common excuse I hear is that voting will simply make no difference.

Today one of the most dangerous threats to American democracy is the practice of gerrymandering. The name originated with Eldridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts in 1812. Gerry devised a special district to help elect his friends in the city of Boston. The outline for the district resembled a drawing of a salamander.

Gerrymandering simply put is a way to rig elections in favor of those drawing the lines of legislative and congressional districts. Unfortunately, today, both parties are guilty of this practice and in fact have raised it to a fine art. Districts are usually drawn to benefit an incumbent or favorable candidate. Such practice is certainly an enemy of democracy because it denies equal protection under our constitution. The practice also removes the opportunity for those condemned to a minority in these districts to present their ideas, or even have rational discussion of vital issues to our country or state. Which could benefit all of us.

There are ways that have been suggested to do away with such practice, most of which propose that objective people be appointed to committees to draw legislative lines. Unfortunately it is true that it is almost impossible to take politics out of politics. In my opinion the most promising way to achieve equal representation when drawing legislative lines would be fairly simple. I suggest that we take the requirements that districts be compact, contiguous, and as equal in number as possible (as mandated by the Supreme Court.). Take these elements and feed them into a computer and have the computer divide our nation, or our state, into proper legislative and congressional districts. Obviously, computers are not Republican or Democrat.


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