Panel to Focus on Prevention of Gerrymandering


Nestor Guillen, mathematics and statistics, will be among the speakers at “Gerrymandering Steals Elections: Learn How It’s Done and How to Stop It,” a panel at the Carroll Room, Smith College Campus Center, Northampton, on Monday, Feb. 12 from 6-8 p.m.

Keynote speaker will be state Rep. Paul Mark, chair of the Massachusetts House Redistricting Committee.

The panel will include Congressman Jim McGovern, Adam Hilton of Mount Holyoke College and Josh Silver, founder of Represent.Us. Former Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins will moderate.

Gerrymandering, the practice of drawing electoral districts to favor one party, has its roots in Massachusetts and is named for 19th-Century Gov. Elbridge Gerry.

In the current century, technology has made gerrymandering easier.  

Guillen will speak about the increasing role STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has been playing in this debate. There are multiple court cases, including one in the Supreme Court, and mathematicians have written amicus briefs or have served as expert witness about district mapping in all of them. The role of mathematics is expected to increase as we approach the 2020 census and the next national wave of redistricting.

The panel will include a question-and-answer session.