"pack" and "crack" (types of gerrymandering)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Sep 30 03:27:57 UTC 2012

Here is a beginning for the trace: a 1962 article in JSTOR containing
three terms for manipulating the redistricting process: cracking,
packing, and stacking. The article cites a series in the New Republic
by the same author that might use the same terms. The series was
published in 1954.

Title: Court versus Legislature (The Socio-Politics of Malapportionment)
Author: Gus Tyler
Journal: Law and Contemporary Problems
Volume: 27
Number 3,
Issue tile: The Electoral Process: Part 2
Date: 1962 Summer, 1962)
Start Page: 390
Quote Page:  400 and 401
Published by: Duke University School of Law
JSTOR Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1190586

[Begin excerpt]
In the United States House of Representatives, an urban majority is
converted into a legislative minority by the time-polished techniques
of "cracking, packing, and stacking" districts. The "cracked" district
is the huge metropolitan center, torn apart into separate pieces, each
of which is attached to and outvoted by a surrounding rural
hinterland. The "packed" district is the one with a concentrated urban
population containing two or three or even four times as many
inhabitants as a neighboring district. The 'stacked' district is the
child of the gerrymander, a delicately carved creature, resembling
nothing more than the partisan and rapacious soul of his political
creator. 33

Footnote 33: A fuller description of the various types of gerrymanders
 may be found in Tyler, The House of Un-Representatives (a series),
The New Republic, June 21, 1954, p. 8; id. June 28, 1954, p. 14; id.
July 5, 1954, p. 13.
[End excerpt]

Text may contain typos and other errors.


On Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 7:43 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      "pack" and "crack" (types of gerrymandering)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> "During as sometimes contentious 2 1/2-hour meeting, coalition
> members voiced their desire to avoid 'packing and cracking': creating
> districts that excessively concentrate voters from a legally
> protected minority group or splitting minority neighborhoods into
> more than one district so their influence would be lessened."
> Boston Globe, Sept. 28, 2012, B3, col. 2.
> Not in OED, I think.
> Wikipedia, under "Gerrymandering", has a section 4, "Packing and
> cracking", with explanations of the terms.
> I did not attempt a serious search for prior instances; seems
> difficult to isolate.
> 2005, testimony before a subcommittee of the House of
> Representatives, in "Voting Rights Act : the judicial evolution of
> the retrogression standard ...", has the phrase "packing and
> cracking" but without explanation.  GBooks.
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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