Redistricting and Incarceration: Examining the Electoral Consequences of New York’s Prohibition on Prison Gerrymandering

During the most recent round of redistricting, many states have enacted a number of reforms to their mapmaking practices. One reform that has received increased attention in recent years is a ban on prison gerrymandering—the practice of counting incarcerated individuals in prisons instead of their home addresses. Eleven states drew districts while counting incarcerated persons in their homes after the 2020 Census. Though substantial research has investigated redistricting practices, far less attention has been paid to empirically examining the effect of prison gerrymandering on elections. We seek to fill this void by evaluating the effect of New York’s ban on prison gerrymandering on state legislative elections between 2002 and 2020. We find that altering how the prison population is counted, indeed, altered the electoral dynamics across the state.

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License CC BY
Type Journal Articles
C-ID POLS 110 - American