If rigging elections were legal, this is how it'd look. Because it's exactly how they do it.

Rigged elections are like the stuff of movies. It's hard to believe it can happen in real life.

But it turns out it can and does. All the time, actually. But not at the polls.


Photo by Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images.

It's a common practice known as redistricting or "gerrymandering." The process can be very confusing, and politicians have little to gain by making it easier for us to understand.

Thankfully, fact wizard Adam Conover is coming at us with the basics of how gerrymandering works.

The former CollegeHumor personality who now stars in truTV's "Adam Ruins Everything" is here to break it down with the eye-opening clarity we need.

All images from truTV/YouTube.

"Every 10 years," he explains, "politicians redraw the districts that pick the House and state legislatures."

But that's not the problem. This is:

So in effect, they can determine election outcomes years ahead of the actual elections. And obviously, politicians with that much control are going to exercise some bias.

Conover illustrates this twisted but totally legal concept with the fictional state of “Newstateadelphia."

Voter registration in this state is pretty straightforward: 40% are members of the Yellow Party. The other 60% of voters belong to the Purple Party.

So creating electoral districts should be pretty easy, right?

"Now, if you divided this state into districts fairly, you'd get perfect representation," Conover explains. "Three purple districts and two yellow districts."

Here's what fair districting would look like:

But "fairly" and "politics" aren't always words that go hand in hand.

As Conover points out, if the Purple Party controls the entire district-making process, they can create districts that give them complete control over the state.

Here's what that might look like:

Redrawing districts so Purple voters are the majority dramatically increases the likelihood of a Purple candidate winning in that district. And once your party is in power, you can start passing laws.

It also works in reverse: Even a party with fewer voters in an area can redraw districts to their benefit.

"Even though the Yellow Party has less voters in Newstateadelphia, if they're allowed to redraw the lines, they can still win," Conover says. "And this happens every election year in America."

Does that sound like rigging an election? Some would would say it's the very definition of it.

Watch Conover's full explainer below, and if you want our votes to carry the weight they deserve, pass this along.

More
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular