Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: email@example.com
Say that you were entrusted with the task of redrawing California's legislative districts. One way to go through the process would be to consider every possible map and then pick the best one. That would be rational, but it also would be a bit of a pain, as the New York Times recently noted:
Redrawing legislative districts in the country's most populous state is clearly daunting. In a Harvard working paper on redistricting, Roland G. Fryer Jr. and Richard T. Holden concluded that the number of possible ways to construct political districts in California was "larger than the number of atoms in the universe."
Based on some estimates, the number of atoms in the universe is around ten to the eightieth power. In other words, it's:
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