Apportionment: The number of representatives to which a state is entitled in the U.S. House of Representatives based on the decennial census. Indiana has 9 members as of the 2000 census.
Census: The United States Census is an enumeration conducted every 10 years and mandated by the United States Constitution. The results are used to allocate Congressional seats, electoral votes, and government program funding.
Census Block: The smallest level of census geography used by the U.S. Census Bureau to collect and report census data.
Census Block Group: A collection of blocks used by the U.S. Census Bureau to collect and report census data.
Census Data: Information and statistics on the population of the United States gathered by the U.S. Census Bureau and released to the states.
Census Tract: A collection of census block groups used by the Census Bureau to collect and report census data.
Communities of Interest: Geographical area, such as neighborhoods of a city or regions of a state, where the residents have common interests that do not necessarily coincide with the boundaries of a political subdivision, such as a city or county.
Compactness: A term used to describe a district's geographic shape. Compactness in redistricting cases often focuses on the regularity or jaggedness of a district boundary and on the extent to which the district's geographic territory is dispersed from its center.
Contiguity: A redistricting requirement that states all geographic parts of a district must be connected to each other.
Deviation: The measure of how much a district or plan varies from the ideal.
Dilution: Occurs when an election system or redistricting plan weakens the voting strength of a politically cohesive minority group.
Dispersion: A measure of compactness which evaluates the extent to which a shape's area is spread out from the central point. A circle is very compact; however a barbell is not as compact.
District: The boundaries that define the constituency of an elected official.
Fragmentation: Drawing district boundaries with the purpose of dividing a demographically concentrated group, such as a racial or political group; with the purpose of minimizing their voting strength.
Gerrymander: The act of drawing district boundaries with the purpose of creating an electoral advantage for one political party.
Ideal District Population: The number of persons to be placed in each district to obtain equal population; obtained by dividing the total population by the number of districts in a state.
Indentation: A measure of compactness which examines the indentations of a district's borders. Straight borders are compact while squiggly or jagged lines are not.
Majority-minority District: A district in which one or more minority groups make up over 50% of the population in that district.
Nesting: A redistricting policy in which the geographical boundaries of two or more state lower legislative chamber districts are completely contained within the boundaries of a state upper legislative chamber district.
One-person, One-vote: A constitutional requirement that requires each district to be substantially equal in total population.
Packing and Cracking: Two common methods of gerrymandering used to minimize the impact of a voting bloc. Packing concentrates members of a group into a single district, allowing the other party to win multiple other districts. Cracking splits a block among multiple districts to dilute their impact.
PL 94-171: A federal law which requires the U.S. Census Bureau to provide states with date for use in redistricting and mandates that states define the census blocks to be used for collecting data.
Political Gerrymander: Gerrymandering to strengthen or maintain a political advantage; typically conducted by the majority party.
Political Subdivision: A division of a state, such as a county, city, or town.
Precinct: An area created by election officials, to group voters for assignment to a designated polling place so that an election can be conducted.
Racial Gerrymander: Gerrymandering in which districts are drawn to secure advantage for one race.
Reapportionment: The process of re-allocating the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the states based on population changes in the decennial census data.
Redistricting: A process that happens every 10 years in Indiana to ensure all district populations are equal in size. This occurs the year after every decennial U.S. census.
Sweetheart Gerrymander: Gerrymandering typically done with agreement of both political parties to draw district boundaries for the purpose of creating a safe district for incumbents.
Total Range of Deviation: The range between the lowest and highest deviating districts from the ideal district population.
Traditional Redistricting Principles: Factors traditionally used by a state or local jurisdiction to perform redistricting.
Voting Age Population: The population of people 18 and older (voting age) in a district rather than a standard total population of the district.
Voting Rights Act: National Voting Rights Act of 1965 protected minority groups (namely African Americans) from being diluted during redistricting.
** This glossary is provided for informational purposes only. The descriptions provided are not to be considered legal definitions. **