Advertisement
Tech by VICE

This Font Is Made of Ridiculously Gerrymandered Congressional Districts

The font is called Ugly Gerry and serves as a fun reminder that our political system is fundamentally dysfunctional.

by Edward Ongweso Jr
Aug 2 2019, 12:00pm

Gerrymandering is so broken that someone has made a font typeface out of some of the most absurdly shaped congressional districts.

Some of the most gerrymandered congressional districts are essentially Rorschach tests: you might see a ring, other states, a vortex, or a mythological beast. All of the Ugly Gerry font’s letters are more or less easily identifiable as a letter in the alphabet, however, to the point where you could probably write a letter to your congressperson and have them be able to understand it.

Gerrymandering goes back to an 1812 political cartoon mocking the redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under Governor Elbridge Gerry. It literally looked like a salamander. One of my editors says it looks like a dragon. Another says it looks like a vulture. See? Rorschach test.

The website for Ugly Gerry calls on users to "Tweet your Rep. to do do something about it," but it's important to note that in most states, district lines are drawn by state representatives. The vast majority of states in America leave redrawing congressional districts to their state legislatures. 47 states are outright controlled by one party—29 by Republicans, 18 by Democrats—which means that while both parties will try to draw congressional districts to their overwhelming benefit, it ends up yielding the best results for Republicans.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal courts were powerless to hear challenges to gerrymandered district maps and closed to door on legal arguments against partisan maps. In the majority opinion, the Court concluded "partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts." In a dissent, Justice Elena Kagan translated the majority opinion as a declaration that the Court “can do nothing about an acknowledged constitutional violation because it has searched high and low and cannot find a workable legal standard to apply."

To that end, the fight against gerrymandered districts will have to take up new frontiers like amendments to state constitutions, electing different lawmakers, or tweeting Ugly Gerry messages at your state representatives.

Tagged:
Twitter
Elections
supreme court
congress
gerrymandering