A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, George Mason University, and the Joyce Foundation released a guide to the redistricting process called A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting. The guide is a comprehensive look at just about every aspects of the redistricting process, with explanations of the various tactics involved and legal requirements.

This publication is intended to present the redistricting process for state and federal government, and for many local governments, in digestible parts. There are many moving components, complex issues that we attempt to describe in simple and straightforward fashion, piece by piece. This is a guide to the rules for drawing district lines – a description of how it works today, how it could work in the future, and what it all means. Consider it an owners’ manual, for those who should own the process: we, the people.

The guide does a great job of of explaining the various subtleties involved in the restricting process, particularly differences between various commissions states employ to aid redistricting:

Five states instead use a backup commission for their state legislative districts (Connecticut uses a backup commission for congressional districts as well, and Indiana uses a backup commission only for its congressional districts). These backup commissions will step in to draw plans, but only if the legislature cannot agree on a districting plan in a timely fashion. Connecticut increases the chance that this backup commission will be called into action, by barring plans from the legislature without 2/3 support in each chamber. Other states with backup commissions vary in other respects.

We highly recommend a read through.

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