Grofman & Cervas: “Fracking: A Contiguity-Related Redistricting Metric”

Bernie Grofman and Jonathan Cervas:

The aim of this short blog is to add a useful term, fracking, to the list of geographically defined redistricting criteria. Fracking is defined as a situation in which a county or city or other well-established political subunit is found in two or more discontiguous pieces within the same legislative or congressional district. This criterion has been identified by some courts and legislatures but had never been given a name. For example, in Common Cause v. Rucho No. 1:16-CV-1026 (U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, 2018, slip op at p. 105 [p. 194]) the North Carolina legislature is quoted as asserting that one of the districting criteria that it implicitly relied upon was that “a district line should not traverse a county line more than once.” This criterion was first labeled “fracking” by Bernard Grofman in his special master report in the Bethune-Hill racial gerrymandering case. Fracking can be used as a gerrymandering tool, with fracking that involves pieces whose racial or partisan composition differs from that of the geographic area between the fracks. The name was chosen to resonate with other terms in the redistricting literature that have been applied in the gerrymandering context: namely, cracking, stacking, and packing….

You can find the entire analysis at this link.

Share this: