Our Solution:

The Independent Redistricting Commission Model

Politicians shouldn’t meet secretly in backrooms to make decisions out of the public eye, but that’s what’s happening in the current redistricting process. In order to be able to hold politicians accountable, we need to pull back the curtain on the process of drawing districts. 

Goals

Ensure that every vote counts, that every eligible voter can have a say, that our elections represent the will of the people, and that our government is of, by, and for the people.

solution

Solution: Change the rules so that the redistricting process is fair, transparent, and impartial.

What an IRC might look like

  1. Nonpartisan Independent Redistricting Commission

    • Established to replace the current state legislative and Congressional redistricting process.

    • If members include representatives from political parties, the structure of the commission shall be that both parties must agree on any plan or that the parties may not collude together without the consent of non-party affiliated members.

    • Approval of plans shall require a supermajority or consensus of all members.

    • Commissions should reflect the geographic, racial, ethnic, gender, and age diversity of the state.

    • The proceedings and meetings shall be transparent with all meetings being open to the public and allow public feedback including those citizens who wish to submit their own plans. Notice of meetings shall be posted 10 days in advance. 

    • Commissions must justify their plans via reports accessible to the public either through a website or other efficient means.

  2. Comply with the United States Constitution and Voting Rights Act (VRA)

    • The VRA requires the drawing of special minority-majority districts where a minority population is large enough to draw a district around and patterns of racially polarized voting exist.

    • The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause as providing the guarantee of equal population of districts.

  3. Respect communities of interest: A community of interest is a group of individuals who are united by shared interest or values. This can be a result of common history, culture, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, common religion, or language.

  4. Require geographically compact and contiguous districts: Provisions for compactness make it more difficult to draw snaking districts that unite many small, disparate, but like-minded communities together. Provisions for contiguity ensure that there are no islands of voters from inside other districts, that the district is a single area.

  5. Use election data to draw competitive districts.

  6. Require incumbent blind districts: The redrawing of district lines shall not favor the incumbent.

  7. End prison-based gerrymandering: A practice in which those who draw districts count persons incarcerated as members of the voting public instead of counting their immediate pre-incarceration location or family home.

  8. End the practices of “packing” and “cracking”

    • Cracking splits a voting bloc, group, or community of interest into several other districts in order to dilute their voting power. This practice aims to limit the ability of these groups to form majorities.

    • Packing concentrates members of a group or community of interest into one district, reducing the number of seats they have an opportunity to fill, reducing the voice and power of that particular group or community of interest in other districts.

#Fairmapstexas

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