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Representable: Helping Voters Talk To Redistricters

July 22nd, 2020, 11:41am by Sam Wang


Redistricting starts next year, once the (delayed) Census results are finalized. 26 states require that the new districts accurately reflect “communities of interest” – groups of people have similar civic interests. But currently no universal mechanism exists to discern who the communities of interest are, or where they are located. Until now!

In 2019, five Princeton Computer Science students started to develop Representable.org, a free open-source online platform. Representable helps communities fill out a questionnaire and draw themselves on a map, and provides a database to make the data available to the redistricting process.

Communities of interest sometimes don’t take center stage until after redistricting, for example in lawsuits as a pretext for whatever map was drawn. It would be far better for such communities to play a role in drawing the map in the first place. That would be a route to honest, fair districting. Representable fills that need.

Representable was developed in partnership with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and Schmidt Futures. Representable has already partnered with groups in Michigan, Illinois, Virginia, and Texas. To use Representable in your state, email team@representable.org!

Written in collaboration with Zach Sippy.

Tags: 2020 Election · Redistricting

One Comment so far ↓

  • Ryan

    Kudos on the gerrymandering project.

    I’d like to ask a question, and a post about reapportionment seems to be the place to do this.

    Do you consider solving reapportionment and gerrymandering simultaneously? Consider this: DC and puerto rico admitted as states. Seems high priority on the D agenda. While this is likely 2-4 more senators for the D column, it opens up a new avenue on the House, too. It naturally reconsiders the statutory (not constitutional) 435 member limit. Certainly, if two states are admitted, it’s more likely than not to, at least temporarily, raise the house to 441+ members (5 from PR, 1 (?) from DC). But why stop there? One can argue based on the original, but unratified, 12th (1st?) amendment, that we would be looking at ~1600 or more representatives..

    Yes, there are cons to this (house gets even more unwieldy and likely even more leadership centric, if such a thing were possible), but the districts themselves would be more representative and the ability to gerrymander seem a lot less, excepting those states with 2-3 reps (which just happen to be the states with only 1 today!), and pushes the US closer toward a national popular vote for the president (by less-overweighting the smaller states)

    So, get the trifecta, expand states and use it to expand the house. Comments?

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