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Redistricting for Advocates

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.

Published: 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.

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.