Redistricting has been hijacked. Partisanship has increased. Political districts are supposed to be revised to to reflect population changes but instead they're being manipulated. Politicians in gerrymandered districts ignore their voters knowing that they cannot be voted out.
Redistricting occurs every ten years and it next happens in 2021. It's time to understand redistricting trickery and free resources available so activists are better prepared to advocate for fair representation.
This blog presents an overview of redistricting. Future blogs will cover the apps for activists to draw fair district maps for hearings in more detail.
- How redistricting is supposed to work
- How Republican operatives hijacked the process to seize control. What is RatF***kery?
- What are four of the worst gerrymandered districts? What is packing and stacking?
- Free apps to draw fair district boundaries for public hearings like District Builder and Dave's Redistricting
Redistricting occurs every ten years for the government to redraw political districts to reflect how populations have changed over the past decade to provide fair representation. It plays a critical role in who runs for office, who is elected, and how they vote once they’re in office. The makeup of a district can significantly influence how and whether elected officials respond to a community’s needs.
Redistricting determines who is elected, economic opportunity, healthcare, schools, roads and other resources allocated to a district. Redistricting is supposed follow this principles:
Contiguity: Every district has to remain connected–they can’t “jump” from one place to another.
Compactness: With few exceptions, districts shouldn’t be drawn in extremely odd shapes.
Communities of Interest: Generally, districts should try to keep populations that share interests--e.g., fishing communities--together as much as possible.
- Power Coalition
Free apps to make complex issues easier to understand
Redistricting can be complex and has many facets. This complexity is used to hide the manipulation underway. I used Wakelet and StoryMaps to describe redistricting and free resources for activists advocating for fair representation. The apps are free and create digital stories that are easily shared and revised.
Wakelet - to collect, curate and share web content as a link.
StoryMaps - to create stories with interactive maps, text, images and videos that can be shared with a link.
District Builder - Free app that puts the power of drawing electoral maps in the hands of the people to increase transparency and prevent gerrymandering.
Dave's Redistricting - Free app to empower citizens to advocate for fair and transparent redistricting. Create, analyze and share district maps with DRA 2020.
Power Coalition - Understand the redistricting process and how citizens can advocate for fair representation.
Ranker - The twelve most gerrymandered districts in the country.
Takeaway: Help more people understand redistricting and prepare to advocate for fair representation in the 2021 redistricting process.
Image credits: Political Cartoons