I really, truly do not understand why, in 2015, we (the public) are still tolerating a process by which biased, partisan politicians and political operatives oversee the manual drawing of state legislative maps.
We have this technology -- mathematical optimization -- that could, in a very transparent, uniform, and unbiased way, apply a set of objective rules to the process and allocate (for example) census tracts or zip codes into legislative districts in order to minimize population differences across districts while ensuring reasonably small deviations in demographics as well as geographical compactness. It can be done. It would not even be that difficult. And every state could use the same basic rules. Then, it would be fair, and fair is essential to a functioning democracy.