Every decade since 1790, a census of the entire U.S. population is used by state governments to apportion representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. But the redrawing of congressional districts that follows the census is an exercise in pure politics, says expert Thomas Mann. With the power to redistrict in the hands of incumbents in state legislatures, coupled with powerful mapping technologies, a state’s representation in Congress often bears little relation to the actual partisan makeup of its population, he says.
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