What is gerrymandering and malapportionment?

Editoral Note: I am assuming that my readers have at least a basic knowledge about politics in general. Some terms would be abstruse in understanding if you have no background knowledge in the political field as a whole. 

 

Gerrymandering and malapportionment are both common practices to gain electoral advantage in the political field, but what do these two terms mean?

 

The term “gerrymandering” came after Governor of Massachusets Elbridge Gerry’s approval of a legislation to redraw boundaries of Massachusets’ new electoral boundaries in order to gain advantage for the Republicans, which Gerry is a member of.

 

This is what a Gerry-mander looks like in 1812:

The Gerry-mander, 1812

While a modern explanation made it clear.

How_to_Steal_an_Election_-_Gerrymandering.svg

 

Malapportionment is a different practice, and it is unique to underdeveloped countries. According to Wikipedia and a former article written by me, Klang, Selangor has approximately 30 times constituents compared to that of Putrajaya. While both YB Charles Santiago (P-110 Klang, DAP) and YM Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan (P-125 Putrajaya, UMNO) receives one seat in Putrajaya each, one represents 150,000 constituents while the other represents 3,000 constituents.

 

 

I found this image on bersih (Malaysian initiative for better elections) website explaining why gerrymandering and malapportionment is bad.

gerrymandering-and-malapportionment

There is only one solution–Proportional Representation.

Even Canadian electoral districts suffer from unequal representation problem. We have three major parties, the Liberals, the Tories and the New Democrats, in Canada. Let us assume that the Tories are still in government and they won 40% of the votes nationally, but won 200 seats. Sorry, Tories get to govern again. Whereas under Proportional Representation, seats are proportionally awarded to each party and the parliament would hang and an investiture would determine who gets to govern (and build a coalition therein).

 

Hope this explaination works, especially in this Malaysian context. Stay up for more!

 

 

 

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