FairVote has reviewed the best redistricting resources on the web and compiled the following list.
Best General Overviews to Redistricting on the Web:
1. Justin Levitt’s “All About Redistricting”
Justin Levitt, Associate Professor of Law at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, has created a comprehensive, state-by-state guide to redistricting with excellent content and coverage. The easily-navigated website provides a page for each state outlining the current status of redistricting, state procedures, pending litigation, and current partisan breakdown of each state legislature. “All About Redistricting” also provides links to numerous other resources including data tools, overview guides, information on the redistricting process, academic articles, and reform advocacy groups. This site is by far the most useful resource on the web for those seeking accessible, updated, and detailed redistricting information.
2. Ballotpedia: Redistricting
Ballotpedia provides coverage of redistricting developments from across the country in the standard wiki format. For those looking for the latest news coverage, the site provides a weekly “Redistricting Roundup” which provides state-by-state updates regarding redistricting news. Each state also has a comprehensive page detailing state procedures, census data, district maps, bill updates, citizen involvement, and lawsuit outcomes. Ballotpedia does a good job of resource categorization and aggregation, including lists of redistricting ballot initiatives and reform activism organizations. Readers should be aware, however, that such aggregation of content results in some state pages providing perhaps an overwhelming amount of information. Like all wiki-style sites, the reliability of this content also depends on the vigilance of those updating the pages.
A for-profit venture, RedistrictingOnline provides information regarding redistricting law, process, news, and scholarly commentary. Perhaps the site’s most useful feature is categorizing resources by the type of visitor: General Public, Legislators & Staff, Attorneys, and Academics. The resources are then tailored specifically to these visitors. The site also provides both daily and weekly news links from across the nation, as well as a “Commission Tracker” which provides updates on the progress of such groups. RedistrictingOnline also includes a page tracking current litigation with links to actual court documents. This resource has a great deal of information to explore and visitors should take note that the homepage requires one to look at the entire page to find all the relevant content.
4. Brennan Center for Justice: Redistricting
The Brennan Center provides many redistricting resources including a blog, summaries of court cases, legal and political analysis, and press releases. The organization also publishes a comprehensive report, A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting, which has been updated for 2010 and is accessible online. Particularly useful is the “Redistricting 101” page that provides an issue-by-issue look at the importance of redistricting, problems with the current system, and steps citizens can take to address such deficiencies. Overall the site is well-organized but visitors should take note that accessing some content will require scrolling well down the page.
5. National Conference of State Legislatures
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves legislators and staff throughout the country. Although redistricting is only one of a wide range of issues addressed by the organization, the redistricting materials are well-organized and straightforward while avoiding oversimplification. The information provided includes seminar presentations for states, the current status of redistricting law, and federal issues. Particularly useful is the redistricting glossary which provides understandable definitions of important terms. This resource does not contain the large amount of information found in others, but it provides a perspective for those interested in how legislators actually go about redistricting and the challenges states face in doing so.
6. Americans for Redistricting Reform
Americans for Redistricting Reform is a coalition organization “committed to raising public awareness of redistricting abuses and promoting solutions that benefit voters and strengthen our democracy.” The website includes a number of useful features such as an interactive state-by-state map, multiple reports laying out redistricting reform principles, and links to recent news articles. Perhaps most beneficial are the factsheets provided on the homepage distributed by the Campaign Legal Center, as well as the Resources page which provides summaries of court cases, state and federal reform bills, and links to redistricting studies.
7. Public Mapping Project
The Public Mapping Project provides software that allows the public to create redistricting plans. The purpose is to develop increased transparency and public participation in the redistricting process. The site is mostly used to deploy the software, but it also contains a number of links to redistricting resources and news from around the country. The “Congressional Redistricting Forecast” section provides a national overview of the process, as well as a state-by-state guide to redistricting.
The following resources provide additional information about state redistricting processes, redistricting litigation, and other matters related to reapportionment and redistricting reform. FairVote does not necessarily endorse the content of external resources listed below.
- FairVote's October 2006 Testimony to the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Governmental Operations and Assembly Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment [Download .pdf - 28 KB]
- FairVote's Public Interest Redistricting Guide - 2000
- National Conference of State Legislatures - Redistricting Resources
- Information on State Redistricting Commissions
- Table of Congressional and Legislative Redistricting Authority (by State)
- Official State Redistricting Websites
- Summary of State Redistricting Processes (2000 Redistricting Cycle)