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Burden

"The Unexpected Effects of Gerrymandering and What the Courts Might Do About It," is the topic of UW-Eau Claire's The Forum series presentation Wednesday night.

Barry Burden, a professor of political science and director of the Elections Research Center at UW-Madison, will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.

In the U.S. whether a person lives on one side of a street or another can impact whether a vote adds to the ultimate win or lose column for the candidate of their choice.

Elections are won or lost district by district, and exactly how those lines and maps are drawn can impact election outcomes for generations. Burden will lend his expertise in helping to understand these concepts, particularly regarding the Wisconsin gerrymandering case that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court last summer.

The Wisconsin case, Gill v. Whitford, was remanded back to a state district court, but experts predict it will likely end up back in the Supreme Court. Any subsequent decision will affect the 2020 elections and beyond.

Burden's Forum presentation will outline the issues surrounding gerrymandering, the Wisconsin case and more about the important topic.

"I will still discuss what is happening in the courts, but I'd also like to talk more broadly about which common assumptions about the effects of gerrymandering are correct and which beliefs turn out to be wrong," Burden said of his presentation.

The Elections Research Center, founded by Burden and others, fosters academic analysis of national and state elections and supports a variety of activities including graduate student summer research, faculty travel, media analysis and a biennial symposium to showcase new research following each federal election. The work is supported by the Lyons Family Chair in Electoral Politics, an endowed position Burden has held since 2015.

Burden earned his doctorate at The Ohio State University and was a faculty member at Harvard University before joining UW-Madison in 2006.

A reception will be held following the event in the Dulany Inn of Davies Center.