According to this post on Dymanic Diagrams’ Information Design Watch blog, computers have made it easier to develop gerrymandered congressional districts. The district they used to illustrate the post was so laughable I had to look it up. And yes, it really does look like that:
I find it particularly funny because I grew up in the southern earmuff of the district. Anyone familiar with the Chicago area knows exactly why it has such a crazy shape. Read Wikipedia’s article on gerrymandering (it uses the Illinois 4th as an example) for a good explanation.
I like how it runs right down the middle of Roosevelt Road, turns up Harlem for a stretch, then wanders right into the middle of the Eisenhower Expressway — like a drunk trying to find his way home.
Information Design Watch goes on to say:
Mathematicians and lawyers are focused on improving the reapportioning process coming up in less than two years. Another use of their analysis is simpler – to find the worst offenders and shame the politicians that put them in place.
Good luck with that. With one or two exceptions (Hi, Steve!), Illinois politicians have no shame.