Re-Mapping Elections with GIS Technology

Professors Mark Rush (Center for International Education) and Dick Kuettner (Global Discovery Laboratories) team together, beginning in the spring of 2017, to research voting strategies, districts, and outcomes in a project called “The Critical Study of Democracy: Remapping Elections”

This project introduces students to the history of voting rights discrimination against minorities in the United States with a particular focus on African Americans and gerrymandering. The course begins with a study of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and how it has evolved through congressional amendments and Supreme Court decisions. Students then investigate theories of minority representation and democracy. To place the theoretical aspects of the course into practical perspective, the class entails a lab component in which students learn to conduct basic data analysis and use redistricting software (ArcMap). Using Virginia elections and census data, students produce alternative election maps of Virginia to demonstrate how elections can be made fairer, more competitive and made to have more opportunities for minority representation.  The project will continue to grow as it extends to other states and nations globally. 

Check out an article by W&L's online magazine: