Redistricting: learn the facts
With the release of 2020 census data this week, many of the states that require redistricting will need to proceed very quickly.
Do you know how redistricting happens in your state? Who votes on it, and when, and whether there an opportunity for public input? The Brennan Center for Justice has a list that will explain the details of how the redistricting process works in your state.
This is even more important if you live in one of the states most likely to lose or gain House seats. Looking ahead, remember this also affects the 2024 presidential race, because gaining or losing House seats also means gaining or losing electoral votes.
Most likely to lose a House seat and an electoral vote: NY, CA, MI, IL, OH, PA, and WV. Suspicions about the previous administration creating conditions for a deliberate undercount in blue states will never be fully answered. We just have to go on from where we are. If the 2020 census confirms that these states lost sufficient population, they will face difficult redistricting battles since one fewer seat means some incumbent must lose the game of musical chairs.
Most likely to gain a House seat and an electoral vote: MT, OR, NC, FL, and CO. The chance to draw lines that add a seat is an embarrassment of riches and a gerrymandering temptation for whichever party is in power. Many of you have seen the chart below showing how creative line drawing determines whether representation is fair or unfair. It is likely that Texas will gain two seats and two electoral votes.
Take action NOW
If you live in an area where the state legislature makes the redistricting decisions, your elected representatives need to hear from you now. The Brennan Center has a list of the states that have constitutional or statutory requirements to complete redistricting plans the soonest. Some of these states need to be finished in less than a month.
Do you know who your state senator is? How about your state representative? Click here to find out who represents you in your state legislature. Write to them. Call them. Find out if they have any local events or appearances. Be there with a sign, even if you are all alone. Better yet, call a neighbor or two and get them fired up and ready to go. Even better, gather a group of Kossacks from your area and do it together. Wherever two or more like-minded folks are gathered, the possibility of making a difference is present among them.
Your congressional representatives need to hear from you as well. If you live in a state about to lose a seat, you need to know whether your current congressperson is in danger of having to run against another incumbent next year. Write to them. Call them. Find out if they have any local events or appearances. Indivisible has 12 pages of local events scheduled for August.
If your representative doesn’t have any events planned, you can plan something. Find their public schedules and figure out when they will be in town, or in a town near you, or at their local offices. Even a handful of people showing up with signs at a district office can get coverage on local television and in local/regional newspapers when you give them a heads up. If you need help writing a press release and compiling a media contact list, we can direct you to those resources.
An advocacy group called All On The Line is offering a series of virtual seminars called Redistricting U. These training sessions go into even more detail about how maps are drawn, how to analyze maps, and other skills for effective grassroots engagement with this once-in-a-decade political event. Some of these sessions are scheduled for next week. Get started now!
No matter what you do during Activism August, make sure you come to Daily Kos and write a story about it, so your experience can be applauded by this community and shared as an example of how we advance our political interests and goals.
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