Motivated by applications in political districting, we consider the task of partitioning the n vertices of a planar graph into k connected components. We propose an extended formulation that has two desirable properties: (i) it uses just O(n) variables, constraints, and nonzeros, and (ii) it is perfect. To explore its ability to solve real-world problems, we apply it to a political districting problem in which contiguity and population balance are imposed as hard constraints and compactness is optimized. Computational experiments show that, despite the model's small size and integrality for connected partitioning, the population balance constraints are more troublesome to effectively impose. Nevertheless, we share our findings in hopes that others may find better ways to impose the population balance constraints.
To appear at Optimization Letters