GerryMander is a simple puzzle game designed to show how gerrymandering can be used to rig an election. In GerryMander, you draw voting districts to favor your party and win the election. Players can use real-world strategies like packing (Squishing opposing voters into a single district) and cracking (Breaking up key voter groups into separate districts) to beat each puzzle. With these strategies players can see how Gerrymandering works while learning about how it happens in the real world.
GerryMander was inspired by the ongoing supreme court case, Gill v. Whitford. The goal of GerryMander was to design a tool that demonstrates the bipartisan impact of gerrymandering through simple, easy-to-understand puzzles. By breaking down this issue into a simple game, we hope to make something that's very hard to explain with written or spoken language more understandable, and raise awareness about the impact of gerrymandering in the United States.
Making complex issues more accessible is an important step toward improving engagement within our democracy. By understanding the mechanisms behind gerrymandering, and redistricting, players can form their opinions on the issue and can take a stance.
We hope that GerryMander is used to to open a dialogue between citizens, their representatives, and lawmakers about issues concerning democracy and representation. As part of the game's functionality, players are able directly reach out to their representatives about the bipartisan issue of gerrymandering. This makes it easier for players to voice their opinion and to promote fairer redistricting practices within their states.
US Census Bureau Nomination
The United States census, run by the US Census Bureau, determines which states will lose and gain electoral votes in the 2020 election. The President has moved toward nominating Thomas Brunell, the writer of "Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America," as Deputy Director of the US Census Bureau. This nomination could take an unprecedented step toward politicizing the US Census, a move that could encourage and enable gerrymandering within the United States.
Brunell, a political science professor, has been an outspoken critic of competitive elections and has testified in numerous lawsuits defending gerrymandering practices. Should Brunell be selected, he would be the highest ranking official at the US Census Bureau. Aside from determining number of electoral votes each state receives, the census provides the demographic data that is used in redistricting. The Deputy DIrector has the ability to alter advertising from the Bureau and to include new questions to that census to decrease respondence from minority groups. Should steps like this be taken, the data collected from the census would be less accurate and would reduce political representation for minority groups.
Through GerryMander, we aim to raise awareness about the nomination for this important position. We hope that by raising awareness, more government officials will speak out against this nomination in favor of a non-partisan Deputy Director.
Gill v. Whitford
The ongoing supreme court case Gill v. Whitford will determine the constitutionality of gerrymandering. The case arose following the 2011 redistricting plan for the state of Wisconsin in which gerrymandering was used to mitigate democratic votes within the state. In this case, the Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of gerrymandering and whether metrics such as the Efficiency Gap can be used to determine partisan gerrymandering. The decision for this case is expected in June 2018.
How to Share It
Anyone can play GerryMander! You can even include the game for free on your site or in an article. Just copy and paste the code below to embed the game.
<iframe src="http://www.playgerrymander.com/game"name="GerryMander" width="800" height="534"frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
<p>Your browser does not support iframes.</p>
GameTheory is an award-winning game development company that uses games to motivate positive and sustainable behavioral change. We aim to create exceptional experiences that motivate action, make complex topics more accessible, and drive results, all based on what's naturally engaging for diverse audiences.