The news from Washington, D.C., this week has been sobering. The eruption over the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election and the general rancor in recent years over some of the hottest political issues—like the electoral college versus the popular vote and congressional gerrymandering—have left the country deeply divided.

There’s got to be a better way.

Enter Mathematics Chair Jeff Suzuki, author of Constitutional Calculus: The Math of Justice and the Myth of Common Sense (John Hopkins University Press, 2015). Using a little calculus, some geometry, and statistics, he explores different ways of assessing fair voting practices—in addition to how to count the country’s population and controversial stop-and-frisk policies, among other topics—applying his formulas in a way that subtracts the complicated emotions and gets right down to the axioms.

It’s actually what the framers intended, argues Suzuki.

“Something that’s often forgotten is that the founding fathers remained steeped in the beliefs of the enlightenment,” says Suzuki, also a history buff. “And what was the primary belief of the enlightenment? That reason, logic, and evidence could build a better society. And the epitome of reason and logic, for enlightenment philosophers, was mathematics.”

So are American voting systems fair? That depends on how you define fair. But once you do, math offers a path to the self-evident truths the founding fathers always intended us to see. Watch Suzuki explain.