In what will be the first shot fired in a long-running political war, President Bush will include legislation aimed at outlawing gerrymandering, the drawing of political districts to aid one political party, in his campaign overhaul package to be announced Thursday. In addition, officials said, Bush will make "full enforcement" of the Voting Rights Act, as amended in 1982, "official administration and party" policy. Language in that act requires maximizing minority representation in Congress. Many Republicans believe that means Democrats cannot take mostly minority districts, which would be Democratic, and split off pieces to combine with marginally Democratic areas to help create more Democratic districts. According to administration officials, Bush is still considering options in the package aimed at reducing the advantages of incumbency, but he has signed off on the redistricting element. It includes legislation that would create what the White House calls "neutral criteria" to be used in drawing the nation's congressional districts after the 1990 census. Democrats and Republicans agree that the legislation will face a rocky road in the Democrat-controlled Congress because it will help Republicans -- usually the victims of gerrymandering -- because Democrats control more governorships and legislatures, which oversee the process of drawing district lines. But the GOP plans to sell the proposal as a "reform," that will, as one source put it, "test the Democrats' commitment to fair redistricting and to the Voting Rights Act." In his news conference yesterday, Bush was asked if his proposed reforms would aid Republicans more than Democrats. "Why would anyone make a charge like that against me when I'm looking at it as objectively as I can?" he responded, partly joking. "I mean, I would be outraged by a suggestion of that nature." Only one standard on redistricting is now definite: each district must have essentially the same number of people. Generally, the controlling political party, most often the Democratic Party, draws the districts to enhance its party's chances of retaining or gaining congressional seats. Under the legislation Bush plans to propose, districts would have to be compact and contiguous and preserve existing community lines, as well as the one-man, one-vote legal standard. Many districts now cross city, county and other lines and meander through counties; all of these techniques are aimed at keeping one party or another in power in the district. Although there have been court cases on gerrymandering, officials said the definition of a proper district set into law would impose a new burden on officials drawing the lines. If the officials ignored it, a court challenge could result. Party and elected officials have pressed Bush for the redistricting element as what they see as one of the major political battles of the 1990s. The redistricting fights will determine the shape and makeup of Congress for the next decade, and because of population shifts, at least 16 congressional seats are expected to shift, mostly from the Northeast and Midwest to the West and Southwest. Nearly every district will change in some way. The process begins now as the ground rules are set. In the 1990 elections, the parties will scrap for control of governorships and legislatures, which will set the district boundaries. Court challenges could follow.