I need your help. Prison gerrymandering gives extra political power to legislators who have prisons in their districts. We put numbers on the problem and sparked a movement to protect our democratic process from the overgrown prison system.

Can you help us continue the fight? All gifts made this year will be automatically matched by other donors. Thank you.

Peter Wagner, Executive DirectorDonate

Appendix:
Determining whether prisoners were included or excluded from districts with known populations

If you do not know whether prisoners were included in the county legislative districts but you can get or calculate the Census population for each district, you can deduce whether prisoners are included in each district.

These two counties in Oklahoma are a clear example. We calculated the Census population by a long process not documented here. (If you are lucky your districts are simple shapes like towns and this won't be hard. Explaining how to access census data at the block level is beyond the scope of this guide.) The Incarcerated population is from the locator and the population not incarcerated was produced by subtracting the incarcerated population from the census population.

Greer County, Oklahoma
County population: 6,061
Ideal district size (county census population divided by number of districts): 2,020
Ideal district size without the prison population (population not incarcerated divided by the number of districts): 1,716

District Census population Incarcerated population Population not incarcerated
1 1,777 72 1,705
2 2,553 841 1,712
3 1,731 0 1,731

Osage County, Oklahoma
County population: 44,437
Ideal district size (county census population divided by number of districts): 14,812
Ideal district size without the prison population (population not incarcerated divided by the number of districts): 14,376

District Census population Incarcerated population Population not incarcerated
1 14,494 1,310 13,184
2 14,825 0 14,825
3 15,118 0 15,118

In Greer County, the Census populations for District 2 is much larger than for the other districts, but if the prisoners are subtracted, then the population totals are almost exactly equal. This suggests that the county drew the district lines without the prison population. They ignored the prison population, and drew each legislative district to be about 1/3rd of the non-incarcerated population.

In Osage County, however, the census populations are all close to the ideal district size of 14,812. If the prisoners were removed, the districts would be more unequal than they are now. This suggests that the legislature used Census data with the prisoners included when drawing the legislative districts, and ended up diluting the votes of residents in the districts without the prisons.

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