Many politicians or political analysts might have heard about gerrymandering that can manipulate elections.

What is gerrymandering?
Gerrymandering is the process of drawing the boundaries around electoral districts in a planned way so that it can help one political party get an unfair advantage over its competitors or rival political parties. It empowers a political party to dilute the voting power of the members of ethnic or linguistic minority groups.

The term “gerrymandering” is named after the name of Gov. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts who enacted a rule in 1812, defining new state senatorial districts. Gerrymandering plays a significant role in representative democracies. It has the power of political manipulation. It can manipulate electoral district boundaries to create an undue advantage for a party, organization, group, or socio-economic class within a constituency.

It can be better defined as cherry-picking that refers to a careful selection of voters who reliably cast their votes for one party or another. Say for an example, the Republic party tries to create voting districts for it with the voters who are sympathetic to Republican positions. Similarly, democrats do the same for their voters. The target is to break up blocks or neighborhoods by drawing electoral districts for ethnic or linguistic minority groups. Thus, a political party tries to dilute their (ethnic or linguistic minority groups) voting power.

How does Gerrymandering Work?
As mentioned above, gerrymandering uses two principal tactics "cracking" (diluting the voting power of the opposition party supporters across many districts) and "packing" (focusing on the opposition or rival party's voting power in one district to decrease their voting power in other districts). It mainly works on geographic voting areas that have unpredictable and randomly placed boundaries.

To be more precise, in cracking demarcation lines are drawn to break up or dilute the power of groups of people who would like to vote one way or another, while packing lines are drawn to minimize the number of elections that rivals can win by putting all of their alike voters into one district.

The Impact of gerrymandering on election results

Gerrymandering uses a tool to manipulate elections. Everything is done statistically. This is why it is very controversial. It has many bad impacts.
It takes away the democratic rights of citizens by organizing them neighborhood lines or within logical geographical areas.

Gerrymandering bars to establish the right of citizens to organize them along neighborhood lines or within logical geographical areas.

It can manipulate the basics of the voting process. The citizens get confused about which districts they are in and for which government representatives they might vote.
It allows one party to use their power to unfairly control or influence future elections.

It goes against the motto of a change in a democracy. If a political party uses their power unfairly and influence future elections, the possibilities of change in a representative democracy decrease. The voters will become manipulated over time. Therefore, their votes no longer matter.

It encourages extremism by manipulating individuals and their voting process. Politicians can consolidate their power without facing a viable political opponent during the time of appealing to their voters in their hand-picked districts. They can develop ever more extreme views in those districts (drawn)

In nutshell, Gerrymandering weakens both the power of every individual’s right to cast his/her vote and democracy as a whole.

Author's Bio: 

Suman Jalal is a professional writer with a flair of writing articles on politics and various political tactics like Gerrymandering.