Balkinization  

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

DrawCongress.org

Nate Persily

The website DrawCongress.org is now live. On this website you will see congressional redistricting plans drawn by students in my Redistricting and Gerrymandering Course at Columbia. DrawCongress.org represents the first attempt to create an internet depository for nonpartisan congressional maps for the entire country.

This website and associated project have three goals. First, the project seeks to educate both the students involved and the general public about the redistricting process. We hope that the maps and redistricting plans contained there depict what is possible in the current round of redistricting and what nonpartisan plans might look like. Second, we hope that these plans serve as a benchmark against which incumbent-drawn plans can be assessed. While not passing judgment on the plans states adopt this redistricting cycle, we hope that the plans contained there illustrate alternative paths not taken and, therefore, both the promise and potential pitfalls of nonpartisan redistricting. Finally, for those states that fail to craft redistricting plans, this website provides ready-made legally defensible congressional plans.

Thus far, we have plans up for Virginia, New Jersey, Louisiana, Mississippi, Maryland, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Arkansas. Each posted plan includes a statewide map, individual district maps, plan statistics and reports, and a block equivalency file that can be downloaded and placed into any mapping program.

In the coming months students at Harvard and Yale will also be placing maps up on the site, and we invite others to do so as well. Anyone interested in doing so should contact me at npersi@law.columbia.edu.

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