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We drew a fairer map for the Virginia legislature – and so can you!

August 30th, 2018, 12:40am by Sam Wang



A federal court has ordered the Virginia legislature to redraw 33 districts in the eastern part of the state, in order to undo a racial gerrymander. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project is pleased to announce its first open-data project. Ben Williams and Will Adler drew a proposed map for them. Explore it through our interactive above (bigger view here). Also, we are giving out the data needed for people to create their own maps!

In the Virginian-Pilot, we write about how we did it. Below is part of the existing map around Hampton Roads (the area served by the Virginian-Pilot), and next to it a model map that we drew using precinct geographic information.

The gerrymandered region has 33 of Virginia’s 100 Assembly districts. African-American voters were crammed into 11 of those districts. Our map undoes that packing and gives them 16 districts where they have the opportunity to elect representatives.

Here’s a look at the whole map (click to enlarge):
It’s actually not easy to obtain accurate precinct-boundaries. We went to considerable efforts to gather this information. We are pleased to publish all of it for anyone and everyone to use. The data, along with our reform map, are available at this repository. We’ll also publish a full technical report soon.

Full disclosure, you’re going to need software like Dave’s Redistricting or ArcGIS or the like. We generated the above maps using Maptitude, which is widely accepted but has limited distribution. Improving software access for reformers is a major future goal for the Princeton Gerrymandering Project!

P.S. Support our work!

Tags: Redistricting

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