Smith College Spatial Analysis Lab

Local Government Redistricting Project, 2020-2022

Like the US House of Representatives and state legislative bodies, local governments in the US are required to redistrict after the decennial census if they have elected members who represent different parts of the local government. Yet, many local governments in the US failed to redistrict after the 2010 census and some haven’t redistricted in decades, thus systematically advantaging older, more conservative, whiter, more rural areas.

The Local Government Redistricting Project has as its mission to ensure that all of the thousands of local governments in the US that are required to redistrict do so after the 2020 census. As far as we know, we are the only group with this mission.

What we need to do:

1) For every state: determine what local governments are required to redistrict and what the requirements are in that state.
2) For most states (ignoring the few that we know redistrict locally–Deep South states that were under federal Voting Rights supervision, plus Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Maine, and a few others like California where a statewide organization is already tackling this), find out whether most local governments that were required to redistrict after the 2010 census did so.
3) Map local government districts and do the math to see if they redistricted properly (compact, contiguous, with a population deviation of <10% between the largest and smallest districts).
4) Document the failures based on the IndianaLocalredistricting.com website.
5) Offer to help local governments that redistricted improperly or not at all after the 2010 census to redistrict in 2021 or 2022.
6) Bring lawsuits against those local governments that refuse to redistrict (we always win).

To do this, we need help, from people with or without GIS skills, though a willingness to learn GIS would be an obvious asset. Everyone involved with the project is currently a volunteer, but we will be happy to work with interns to find funding as needed, especially if they want to work on the project full-time for a semester or more.

We will start the project in earnest immediately after the Nov. 3, 2020 election. Volunteers can designate their own hours and level of commitment.

Please contact Kelsey Kauffman if you would like to be involved.

Kelsey.Kauffman@gmail.com
765-721-6044