Strategic Constituency Manipulation in State Legislative Redistricting



Scholars often identify gerrymanders by examining changes to districts' partisan composition. However, advantages can also be gained by systematically varying the extent to which incumbents' constituencies remain the same. In this article, I examine the post-2000 redistricting in 22 state legislatures. I find that parties, particularly in legislatures with low turnover levels, gain advantages from constituency manipulation, but that these advantages are counteracted by geographic redistricting regulations. Lastly, I find that ostensibly bipartisan outcomes nonetheless feature partisan constituency manipulation. These findings echo a growing literature that analyzes the geographic aspects of gerrymandering and highlight how turnover patterns motivate redistricting strategies.