LAHS hosts gerrymandering lecture

Stanford University professor Jonathan Rodden is scheduled to discuss “Political Geography and Minority Rule” 7:30 p.m. today at Los Altos High School’s Eagle Theater, 201 Almond Ave.

“This lecture is unique, because it is intended for a high school audience to stimulate interest among students and get them talking and interested about the issue of voting rights,” said organizer Steve Matthews, a member of the National Voter Corps steering committee. “They play a very critical role in elections, and we want to increase participation from younger people in the voting process.”

The lecture – co-sponsored by the National Voter Corps, the Mid-Peninsula Chapter of the ACLU and the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto – is one in a series on voting in America presented by the National Voter Corps.

Rodden’s presentation will focus on gerrymandering, the practice of redistricting to establish a political advantage for a particular party during the process of setting electoral districts. He will discuss controversial redistricting cases headed to the U.S. Supreme Court that may affect elections in the future.

“We chose Jonathan Rodden because he was an expert witness in a redistricting case,” Matthews said. “His testimony was instrumental in a case in Florida that overturned gerrymandering.”

Rodden earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and his doctorate from Yale University. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Leipzig in Germany and the Ford Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT.

Rodden teaches political science at Stanford, with a focus on the comparative political economy of institutions. He is working on several books and papers on the geographic distribution of political preferences and partisanship. His work has earned him a Michael Wallerstein Award, involvement in contemporary debates and court cases and an award from Common Cause, a citizens’ lobbying group.

Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public.

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