The Redistricting Game

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by on November 14, 2009

I play this game with my AP Gov students every year

when we learn about congressional elections and how

every 10 years (after the census) politicians of both

political parties, Democrats and Republicans, redraw the

lines to genuinely reflect their constituencies.  The

controversy is whether they should be drawing the lines.

lines or an independent body.  In California, voters

in the 2008 election decided that a 14 member commission

comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and representatives of neither

party selected from the registered voter pool in a

multilevel process would now draw those lines.  The new

census will begin this January, so it will be interesting to

see what happens in California politics.

In terms of the redistricting game, students will

take the path of a liberal or conservative politician and draw

district lines based on a mission that is selected.  Each

mission (1-5 varies in difficulty, 5 being the most difficult).

Mission 1 = Fundamentals

Mission 2 = Partisan Gerrymander

Mission 3 = Bipartisan Gerrymander

Mission 4 = Voting Rights Act

Mission 5 = Reform

For a history of where the term gerrymander comes from

follow this link:

Players will have the ability to simulate the considerations that

politicians must take into consideration when drawing the lines

for their particular districts, e.g. demographics, opposing political

parties, fairness and equality.  Not only will players draw

and have to redraw the map for their district, they will also

have to get feedback from the state legislature, state governor,

and the state courts.  Finally, they will have to submit their

map for approval.  For players, the reason I find this game

“elegant” is because it is fun, funny (esp. when the opposing

side gets angry), visually appealing, and players can actually

simulate the “redistricting” process.

One Response to “The Redistricting Game”

  1.   Karina Borg Says:

    This is a great discovery! I would have really appreciated it in my high school government class. Heck, I appreciate it now. I’ve been playing with it for the last 15 minutes. The “Redistricting Game” is a great way to illustrate this aspect of US politics to high school students and beyond. Thanks!