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Discussion Paper

Gerrymandering and the Limits of Representative Democracy

We assess the capacity of gerrymandering to undermine the will of the people in a
representative democracy. Citizens have political positions represented on a spectrum,
and electoral maps separate people into districts. We show that unrestrained gerrymandering
can severely distort the composition of a legislature, potentially leading half the
population to lose all representation of their views. This means that, under majority
rule in the congress, gerrymandering enables politicians to enact any legislation of their