What is redistricting and why is it important?

Every 10 years the U.S. carries out a census. After the completion of the national population count, the states begin their redistricting processes.

So, what exactly is redistricting and why is it important?

Redistricting is the process of drawing electoral district boundaries in all states. These districts determine individual and community representation at the local, state, and federal levels. 

This year we are experiencing delays in the 2020 census national count due to the pandemic. States are not expected to receive detailed figures until September, which may cause additional delays in the redistricting process.

The process varies from state to state. Some states have independent commissions that draw maps, while others have their maps drawn by elected officials. In some states, the process is heavily political, resulting in a risk of gerrymandering. This is the intentional manipulation of the redistricting process to benefit one party over another, distorting representation.

A good and fair redistricting process will be open and transparent, allowing communities to ask questions and give input. You can hold those crafting the district lines accountable by paying attention and speaking up.

Learn how redistricting is done in your state with the Brennan Center for Justice’s 50 State Guide to Redistricting.

Sources: www.census.gov; www.reuters.com; www.brennancenter.org

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