Mathematics Chair Jonathan Mattingly’s Math Exposes Political Gerrymandering in N.C. District Maps

Jan 11, 2018

Duke Mathematics Professor Jonathan Mattingly’s algorithm demonstrating political gerrymandering in North Carolina’s district mapping was a focal point in the ruling of the 4th Circuit of Appeals judge earlier this week.

The author of the lead opinion, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Wynn, said Mattingly’s work had gone a long way toward showing the N.C. General Assembly “intended to subordinate the interests of non-Republican voters and entrench the Republican Party in power” when it drew the current district lines in 2016.

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Sophie Guo, Math/PoliSci major, Bridget Dou, ECE/CompSci major, Sachet Bangia, Econ/CompSci major, and Christy Vaughn spent ten weeks studying different procedures for drawing congressional boundaries, and quantifying the effects of these procedures on the fairness of actual election results. Project Results There has already been research done with North Carolina districts, described in There, Jonathan...
A team of students led by Professors Jonathan Mattingly and Gregory Herschlag will investigate gerrymandering in political districting plans.  Students will improve on and employ an algorithm to sample the space of compliant redistricting plans for both state and federal districts.  The output of the algorithm will be used to detect gerrymandering for a...