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Just make them stick to natural borders (county lines, rivers...) and straight lines

That could be hard to do also as the districts are supposed to be approx. equal in population and who knows if natural boundries exist that can approximate the districts by the correct numbers.

You are right tho about the at large plan. Since everyone would have to vote on every Rep for the state the large urban centers would carry more weight in the elections and leave the lower populated areas hi and dry.

It's very easy to solve tho but the politicians won't do it, looking for whatever edge they can get, and the courts seem to take a hands off approach except in the most egregious circumstances and usually then only in cases where disenfranchiement is based on race rather than party affiliation. All they have to do is keep the districts drawn in reasonable geometric shapes, squares, rectangles, maybe a trapezoid or two instead of things like a circle which winds up being surrounded by 2 S curves which then adjoin a parabola, etc, etc, etc.

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