Redistricting for Advocates

June 27, 2011

Redistricting is a unique process, important and central to our representative democracy.  As we have studied how redistricting operates around the country we have consistently seen that both independent commissions as well as legislative redistricting commissions lack adequate transparency and accountability to truly be responsive to communities.  It is a key part of the Brennan Center Redistricting Project's mission to work with advocates and allies to improve the redistricting processes at the state and local level.

To that end, we have put together the recent publications and documents in our Community Advocates Redistricting Kit, available for download (zipped PDFs). We are also launching the Redistricting Data Collection Project, with the aim of building a knowledge base of information and anecdotes from local citizens and activists on how the redistricting process really plays out -- whether you had the opportunity to testify, whether decision-makers actually made information accessible, and how the lines ended up getting drawn.

To request copies of our publications, contact Tamara Joachim: tamara.joachim (at) nyu (dot) edu.

We want to help you acquire the knowledge and the tools you'll need to have an impact on the lines that can define or divide your community.


The Brennan Center Data Collection & Storybank Project

Submit Your Story

We are running the Redistricting Data Collection Project with the aim of building a knowledge base of information and anecdotes from local citizens and activists on how the redistricting process really plays out -- whether you had the opportunity to testify, whether decision-makers actually made information accessible, and how the lines ended up getting drawn. Share your story, and help us prepare better resources and strategies both for this redistricting round and the next!


What Redistricting Is About and How It Can Impact Your Community

A Citizen's Guide to Redistricting

About 150 pages long, and filled with useful tables and illustrations, the Citizen's Guide is one of the clearest, most accessible reference guides on redistricting available, and will be a great aid throughout the redistricting process and the off-cycle. The Citizen's Guide is a full walkthrough of what you need to watch out for and why it affects your community.

Avenues for Opening Up the Redistricting Process

Redistricting and Transparency

A concise overview of issues of transparency and input in redistricting, Redistricting and Transparency is a document advocates can consult when preparing to influence the map-drawing process or when looking into reform efforts to improve the process. It contains information and strategies on opening up what has historically been an insiders' game, and making sure that decision-makers hear from your community.

How Redistricting Happens in Each State

A 50 State Guide to Redistricting

Advocates can use the 50 State Guide to find out when their window will be to influence the process, and what the ground rules and criteria are for how districts must be drawn. It has deadlines, legal requirements, who the decision-makers are, and more -- all in one place.

More tools and information

A Media Guide to Redistricting and Know Your Lines

Tools crafted for specific audiences can help you get your message out. The Media Guide, based on the Citizen's Guide but written specifically with reporters and editors in mind, can help educate members of the press, increasing and improving local coverage of the redistricting process and its results. Know Your Lines, a fold-out poster produced in conjunction with the Center for Urban Pedagogy and professional graphic designers, educates by engaging broad audiences with its striking visuals.