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We need your help in North Carolina

August 11th, 2021, 1:48pm by Zachariah Sippy


This week, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project launched our Redistricting Report Card, in partnership with RepresentUS. This project scores proposed redistricting maps on their geographic features, competitiveness, and partisan fairness, while also providing an in-depth view of the estimated partisanship and minority composition of each district in the plan. 

Our tool runs on a robust algorithm that produces a million alternative maps (no joke), but at the same time we’ve worked hard to ensure that it’s also accessible for journalists and activists. 

But in order to combat gerrymandering tools alone will not be enough. We need to respond quickly to draft maps – and for that, we need your help. 

In 2019, when the North Carolina General Assembly began to redraw its maps under court order, we had volunteers and journalists who helped us gather draft map shapefiles each day. After we scored maps, they applied their local expert knowledge about communities of interest and North Carolina political geography to add essential local context. Our efforts also would not have been possible without the support of local journalists who worked tirelessly to make the public aware about the process. 

As the General Assembly gears up to start drafting new maps for this fall, we need to channel this same energy. Last week the General Assembly said it would use the same procedure as they did in 2019, which emphasized speed. They also focused on compact-shaped districts – but didn’t take into account communities or partisan fairness. It’s possible to meet all three criteria, which is why our report card grades them separately. And no evaluation is complete without a consideration of racial fairness, which we evaluate with care.

Without oversight, this process can go off-track. No matter how rushed or secretive the legislature attempts to be, we will use our rapid response capabilities to shine a light at each step, ensuring that the public is not kept in the dark. We want to help – and to be effective in North Carolina, we need the help of North Carolinians. 

Please reach out to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project (email: jrhode@princeton.edu), if you are interested in helping us gather shapefiles and/or rapidly score draft maps. Additionally, if you are a North Carolina journalist: please reach out to us! We would love to speak with you, gain from your insights, and share some of ours.

Tags: Politics · Redistricting

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