Palmer, Maxwell, Benjamin Schneer, and Kevin DeLuca. 2022. “A Partisan Solution to Partisan Gerrymandering: The Define-Combine Procedure.” Working Paper.
Redistricting reformers have proposed many solutions to the problem of partisan gerrymandering but they all require either bipartisan consensus or the agreement of both parties on the legitimacy of a neutral third party to resolve disputes. In this paper we propose a new method for drawing district maps, the Define-Combine Procedure, that substantially reduces partisan gerrymandering without requiring a neutral third party or bipartisan agreement. One party defines a map of 2N equal-population contiguous districts. Then the second party combines pairs of contiguous districts to create the final map of N districts. Using real-world geographic and electoral data, we use simulations and map-drawing algorithms to show that this procedure dramatically reduces the advantage conferred to the party controlling the redistricting process and leads to less biased maps without requiring cooperation or non-partisan actors.