Tools and Resources

Event Calendar

Check back soon for events around the Midwest!

Redistricting Timeline

December 31, 2010

U.S. Census Bureau reports state population to President; Congressional seats reapportioned

February 2011

U.S. Census Bureau begins delivering local 2010 Census results to the states

March 2011

U.S. Census Bureau continues delivering local 2010 Census results to the states

Indiana: Late March – deadline for legislature to produce plan, if not met, control goes to five-member commission

April 2011

April 1 – deadline for U.S. Census Bureau to complete delivery of redistricting data to the states

Indiana: Mid-April – deadline for commission to approve plan

June 2011

Illinois: June 30 – deadline for legislature to produce plan, if not met, control goes to an eight-member commission

August 2011

Wisconsin: municipalities create wards

Illinois: August 10 – deadline for eight-member commission to agree on plan, if not met, IL Supreme Court submits individuals from different political parties to the Secretary of State; Secretary of State randomly selects one person to serve as tie-breaker on the commission

October 2011

Ohio: October 1 – deadline for commissions to adopt plan (if plan is invalidated by the Supreme Court, commission must make another attempt)

Illinois: October 5 – deadline for eight-member commission plan to be adopted (if plan is invalidated by the Supreme Court, commission must make another attempt)

November 2011

Michigan: November 1 –deadline for legislature to adopt plan

February 2012

Minnesota: February 21 – deadline for legislature to adopt plan (25 weeks before primary elections in 2012, currently scheduled for August 14)

March or May 2012

Wisconsin: March or May – deadline for legislature to adopt plan

Learn About Redistricting
Get Involved!
Multimedia Materials
Frequently Asked Questions
Favorite Links

 

Learn About Redistricting

Redistricting 101 from the Brennan Center

Members of Congress, state legislators, and many city council and school board members are elected from districts.  At least once per decade, the district lines are redrawn, block by block.

The way that district lines are drawn puts voters together in groups — some voters are kept together in one district and others are separated into different districts.  And in our system, whichever group has more votes within a district usually decides which representative wins.

The way the lines are drawn can keep a community together or split it apart, changing whether it has representatives who feel responsible for its concerns.  The way the lines are drawn can impact who wins an election. Ultimately, the way the lines are drawn can change who controls the governing body, and can change which policies get passed into law.

  • Redistricting Matters. Click here to learn about some serious problems that can occur during the redistricting process.
  • Who draws the lines? In most states, the legislature has the power to draw the lines for both congressional and state redistricting. Click here to read more about your states’ laws. See sidebar for our specific state-by-state work.
  • The importance of minority representation. Many redistricting techniques, sadly, have been abused in order to dilute minority voting power. Click here to learn more about how the redistricting process affects minority communities and Section 2 and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
  • How to draw the lines? Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to draw lines.

Continue learning:

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Get Involved!

Citizens and community organizations can influence the redistricting process, even within the status quo, to ensure better representation. The Brennan Center provides some ideas on how you can get involved:

  • Identify and map local communities. Several states explicitly require consideration of communities of interest; political pressure can effectively force other states to consider them as well. Communities of interest, however, are notoriously difficult to identify concretely. You can assist advocates, legislators, and others responsible for drawing district lines by mapping boundaries of local communities that should be kept together within a district — or if a sizable community prefers to be split in order to influence a larger number of representatives, drawing lines that show where the most appropriate splitting point is. Convene community forums and town meetings, get out the road maps, and put pen to paper to define where recognizable communities start and stop.
  • Demand and attend hearings. In several states, redistricting bodies are required to hold public hearings; in others, those in charge of redistricting may be prodded privately or publicly into allowing some forum for public input. If there are hearings, get the hearing schedule as early as possible, and mobilize community attendance: the more people who make their voices heard about the lines that would serve their needs, the more likely it is that districts eventually follow those lines. Also, it will be important to demand hearings or a public comment period not only before draft maps are produced, but afterward, to ensure that those who draw the lines hear about the impact their proposed decisions will have.
  • Present community maps to those who draw the lines. If there are public hearings, present maps of your community’s boundaries at the hearings. If not, send proposed maps to your legislators, along with petitions showing numerical support for the districts you prefer. As above, the more you can emphasize the maps that should be drawn, the more likely they are to be reflected in the final product.
  • Develop alternative maps. You may also want to step beyond maps of local communities, to redistrict the state (or city, or county) as a whole. Those who are drawing the lines have to develop multiple maps in a relatively short period of time. If you are able to give them a model, they will be able to use that model as a reference point. And in the event that the maps they draw end up in court, courts will often look to alternative maps for guidance.
  • Educate the media. Media outlets — particularly print and web media — are usually wary of self-interested government actors, and will be very interested in the redistricting process as it unfolds, and in the political impact of the final maps. Few, however, understand the redistricting process in detail. You have an opportunity to educate the media, to let them know about how the redistricting process works, and how you think it should work, to drive media coverage of the process to focus on the goals you think most important.

More ways to get involved:

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Multimedia Materials

Presentations

Redistricting 101 PowerPoint – Brennan Center

Handouts

Redistricting-In-A-Box: 14 one-sheet info pages – Brennan Center
Introduction to Redistricting One-Sheet: one-sheet info page – Asian American Institute

Video

ACLU: Stacking, Cracking and Packing: How politicians use “gerrymandering” to dilute minority votes
Brennan Center: Redistricting 101 Video Training
Green Film Company: Gerrymandering Documentary Clips
NAACP LDF: Redrawing the Lines: This District Represents My Community
PBS Need to Know: Drawing the lines: Parties fight for redistricting power
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign: Redistricting in Audio and Video

Social Media



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Frequently Asked Questions

Redrawing the Lines: FAQs – NAACP LDF
Redistricting Q&A – ACLU

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Favorite Links

Brookings: Toward Public Participation in Redistricting
Census Bureau: Redistricting Data, First Look at Local 2010 Census Results
Census Bureau: Interactive Map Showing Local 2010 Census Data
Census Bureau: Non-media News Releases Email List
NAACP LDF: Independent Redistricting Commissions: Reforming Redistricting Without Reversing Progress Toward Racial Equality
National Conference of State Legislatures: Redistricting
Public Mapping Project: District Builder
Public Mapping Project: News from the States

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(with thanks for this outline to the Nonprofit Voter Education Network’s Nonprofits Count website)

 

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