Electoral geography is a part of political geography. It is the geographical study of political space in democratic states. Electoral research in dictatorships can be useful although, their citizens are not really freely choosing. Electoral geography is therefore a special study of electoral processes and districts to map election results and then to test the results for the causes. Electoral geography as the study of election districts and the voting behavior in them has been of interest to politicians, political scientists, geographers and others since the rise of democracies in place of other forms of government in the last several centuries. In England before the American Revolution and in the United States since the adoption of its present constitution the practical politicians who have had the power to shape legislative districts have found that the boundaries of districts can be drawn to favor 1 political party over another. The American term for this is gerrymandering. The term was first applied to election districts drawn in the late 1700s in Massachusetts by the Federalist Party. At the time Elbridge Gerry was the governor. One of the districts looked like a salamander; however, a political wit punned the district from a salamander into a “Gerrymander.” In England, concern with “rotten boroughs” was a concern with electoral geography and the malapportionment of the size of the districts. Ultimately, the lack of equal representativeness in districts is a concern with the legitimacy of a political system. Democratic regimes are based upon the principle of the equality of the “voters” or the people who are citizens and thus have the right to make political decisions. This means that political sovereignty of the people in elections is entailed in the shape and the demographic contents of each district. When districts are drawn by legislatures or other decision-making bodies to increase the power of 1 group over another, the resulting legislative or other districts become inherently unjust. In America, the courts and ultimately the Supreme Court of the United States has tolerated political gerrymandering, but it has ruled as unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. Cases such as Gomillian v. Lightfoot (364 U.S. 339) (1960) or the cases of Shaw v. Reno (509 U. S. 630) (1993) and Miller v. Johnson (515 U.S. 900) (1995), in North Carolina and Georgia respectively, have dealt with the subject. The Gomillian case considered racial gerrymandering in Tuskegee, Alabama. Ordered to allow African Americans to vote and aware that whites were greatly outnumbered, the city government gerrymandered the city’s territory from a square to a contorted figure that excluded all but about 7 or 8 nonwhite voters. The Supreme Court in this case was dealing with electoral geography, as it was in the recent cases of Shaw and Miller, where the Department of Justice had ordered southern states to draw some districts with African American majorities. Again the court had to rule on an issue of racial gerrymandering. There are several ways in which gerrymandered districts are drawn. In the first approach, the goal is to populate each district with a 51 percent majority for the party in power and 49 percent district vote for the minority party. Another approach is to locate as much of the minority party’s voting strength into a few “super” districts that will be carried by huge majorities approaching 99 percent. The effect is that the minority party carries a few districts but loses all the rest and thus has a much smaller legislative representation than it would have if the election districts were drawn in a way that spread the votes of the major parties in a more competitive manner. A third approach is a combination of the first 2 approaches. The party doing the gerrymandering can push significant numbers of minority party voters into a few districts and then spread the rest into districts where the minority party is always outvoted. This method allows the majority party to carry a large number of seats in the legislature or parliament. Electoral geographers study votes of plebiscites. These are often votes for constitutional amendments or some form of referendum. Studies of plebiscites focus on the spatial elements associated with the vote in order to explain why people in 1 area voted differently from those in another area. Electoral geographers also study the votes of deliberative assemblies such as legislatures or parliaments. The electoral geographer then seeks to move beyond the pattern of votes cast in elections or plebiscites. The focus of these types of studies is to explain blocs of votes or to determine whether the votes are in the “best interests” of the people being represented. Studies of votes in the United Nations and other legislative bodies can verify bloc voting. The challenge for the electoral geographer is then to interpret the descriptive results in order to explain why votes were cast as they were. Analysis of votes of deliberative bodies is risky because the motivations for voting may be hidden in a veil of diplomacy or motives in an hidden agenda. Electoral geographers then have to move beyond the description of the votes to reveal the real causes of the voting patterns. It should be noted that elections are conducted according to rules. These rules may be used to create the illusion of fairness in an election. Or they may be used to slant the results for the benefit of 1 group over another. Electoral geographers can reveal these types of machinations, but at the same time, of the approximately 200 states in the world today, less than half are democratic enough for analysis of their votes by the techniques used by electoral geographers to be meaningful.