Redistricting and Gerrymandering – Resources
Some Resources on Redistricting and Gerrymandering
Apportionment: The process of assigning seats in a legislative body among established districts.
Commission: A statutory or constitutional body charged with researching or implementing policy. Redistricting commissions have been used to draw districts for legislatures and Congress.
Communities of interest: Geographical areas, such as neighborhoods of a city or regions of a state, where the residents have common political interests that do not necessarily coincide with the boundaries of a political subdivision, such as a city or county.
Compactness: Having the minimum distance between all the parts of a constituency (a circle, square or a hexagon is the most compact district).
Contiguity: All parts of a district being connected at some point with the rest of the district.
Cracking: A term used when the electoral strength of a particular group is divided by a redistricting plan.
Deviation: The measure of how much a district or plan varies from the ideal.
District: The boundaries that define the constituency of an elected official.
Gerrymander: A district intentionally drawn to advantage one group or party over another, especially a district with a bizarre shape.
Ideal population: The total state population divided by the number of seats in a legislative body.
Majority-minority districts: Term used by courts for seats where a racial or language minority constitutes a majority of the population.
Metes and bounds: A detailed description of district boundaries using specific geographic features.
Packing: A term used when one group is consolidated as a super-majority in a small number of districts, thus reducing its electoral influence in surrounding districts.
Partisan gerrymandering: The deliberate drawing of district boundaries to secure an advantage for one political party.
PL 94-171: Federal law enacted in 1975 requiring the U. S. Census Bureau to provide the states with data for use in redistricting as well as mandating the program where the states define the blocks for collecting data.
Reapportionment: The allocation of seats in a legislative body (such as Congress) among established districts (such as states), where the district boundaries do not change but the number of members per district does.
Redistricting: The drawing of new political district boundaries.
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act: Part of the federal law that protects racial and language minorities from discrimination by a state, or other political subdivision, in voting practices.
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act: Part of the federal law that requires certain states and localities to pre-clear all election law changes with the U.S. Department of Justice or the federal district court for the District of Columbia before those laws take effect.
http://www.ncsl.org/research/redistricting/redistricting-law-2010.aspx (This is a booklet for state legislators to use)
LWVUS on Redistricting https://www.lwv.org/voting-rights/redistricting
• Congressional districts and government legislative bodies should be apportioned substantially on population. We oppose partisan and racial gerrymandering that strips rights away from voters.
• Why it matters—Political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select their voters rather than voters to elect their officials. When done for purposes of racial discrimination or to ensure the dominance of one political party, gerrymandering runs counter to equal voting rights for all eligible voters.
• What the LWV is doing—Promoting transparent and accountable redistricting processes and ending hyper-partisan practices. Responsibility for fair redistricting should be vested in an independent special commission, with membership that reflects the diversity of the unit of government. LWVs work in states across the country to pass ballot initiatives to institute independent redistricting commissions.
Redistricting Online— http://www.redistrictingonline.org/
Explanation of MO’s system—https://oa.mo.gov/budget-planning/redistricting-office/general-information
Maptitude for fair redistricting—https://www.caliper.com/mtredist.htm
Ideas to consider—
• Math and geometry geeks would be fantastic folks to work with to support making democracy work.
Always be ready to chat with the media, promote voting, and the League of Women Voters!
Alice Paul podcasts
6 Gerrymandering Podcasts