Can you hear the will of the People in the Vote? Quantifying Gerrymandering in NC using MCMC Sampling

Jonathan C. Mattingly

Duke University
Barton Lectures in Computational Mathematics


Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Virtual

The US political system is built on representatives chosen by geographically localized regions. This presents the government with the problem of designing these districts. The practice of harnessing this administrative process for partisan political gain is often referred to as gerrymandering. How does one identify and understand gerrymandering? Can we really recognize gerrymandering when we see it? If one party wins over 50% of the vote, is it fair that it wins less than 50% of the seats? What do we mean by fair? How can math help illuminate these questions? How does the geopolitical geometry of the state (where which groups live and the shape of the state) inform these answers? This is a story of interaction between lawyers, mathematicians, computational scientists and policy advocates. The problem of understanding gerrymandering has also prompted the development of a number of new computational algorithms which come with new mathematical questions.


*Email for a link to this talk.*