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Political redistricting by computer

By Robert E. Helbig, Patrick K. Orr, Robert R. Roediger

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 15 No. 8, Pages 735-741

The problems of political redistricting are considered and a computer method for redistricting is presented. Criteria for acceptable redistricting are discussed, including population equality, compactness, contiguity, and preservation of natural and/or political boundaries. Only nonpartisan criteria are considered. Using 1970 Bureau of Census population data, specific results are given for the ten Congressional Districts in the state of Missouri and for the seven St. Louis County Council seats. Results from the use of the algorithm indicate the feasibility of political redistricting with the aid of a computer.

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