Gerrymandering 101: Q&A with Dr. Sam Wang

Written by
Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students
Oct. 7, 2021

Gerrymandering 101, a talk and Q&A with Dr. Sam Wang, is a free Zoom program that aims to explain what gerrymandering is, how it functions, and how it impacts our democratic process. This conversation is a segment of the “Be a Civic Leader” training program for NJ students that consists of six virtual hour-long speaker and dialogue sessions and culminates in a certificate of completion from the state. Anybody can enroll for this event in advance here and NJ students can join the “Be a Civic Leader” program here.

Dr. Sam Wang of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project has been a member of the Princeton faculty since 2000. He holds a B.S. in physics from the California Institute of Technology (1986) and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Stanford University School of Medicine (1993). Dr. Wang has a long-standing interest in elections. He pioneered statistical methods for analyzing U.S. presidential elections in 2004, when he developed tools for the aggregation of state polls. These tools led to the establishment of the Princeton Election Consortium. In 2012 he recognized new, systematic distortions in representation in the U.S. House. Understanding the causes of these distortions launched his interest in voting rights and led to the creation of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project does nonpartisan analysis to understand and eliminate partisan gerrymandering at a state-by-state level. Their interdisciplinary team aims to give activists and legislators the tools they need to detect offenses and craft bulletproof, bipartisan reform. Their analysis is published widely, and their work is used by legislators and reformers of all communities, without regard to partisan affiliation.

Vote100, an initiative of the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS), is proud to be partnering with nonpartisan organizations in New Jersey to support voter engagement widely: This program is supported by the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, Berkeley College, Rutgers University: New Brunswick, the NJ Department of State, and by Princeton University.