Draw Congress: Redistricting and Gerrymandering
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A nonpartisan map of all 435 congressional districts in the nation has never been drawn. The widespread diffusion of redistricting technology and data and the training of a group of students dedicated to that purpose has made such a map possible for the first time. DrawCongress.org represents the first attempt to create an internet depository for nonpartisan congressional maps for the entire country.
DrawCongress.org is an outgrowth of the “Redistricting and Gerrymandering” course at Columbia Law School. On this website you will find a series of student-drawn nonpartisan redistricting plans, which will culminate in a complete map of all 435 congressional districts. The students used Caliper Corporation's Maptitude for Redistricting software to draw their plans.
This website and associated project have three goals. First, the project seeks to educate both the students involved and the general public about the redistricting process. We hope that the maps and redistricting plans contained here depict what is possible in the current round of redistricting and what nonpartisan plans might look like. Second, we hope that these plans serve as a benchmark against which incumbent-drawn plans can be assessed. While not passing judgment on the plans states adopt this redistricting cycle, we hope that the plans contained here illustrate alternative paths not taken and therefore, both the promise and potential pitfalls of nonpartisan redistricting. Finally, for those states that fail to craft redistricting plans, this website provides ready-made congressional plans.
We also encourage others to submit plans to be posted to this website. Students in similar classes at other universities will be posting plans here later in the redistricting cycle. All submitted plans must include statewide and district-specific maps, as well as a block equivalency file in “.csv” format.
To view the redistricting plans that have been uploaded for a given state please click the pushpin for the state at the map above. All plans provided here attempt to comply with applicable requirements of state and federal law, including the requirement of one-person, one-vote and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For each state, redistricting plans are identified by the author’s last name. There also is a shorthand notation that suggests the principles that guided the plan’s construction:
LeastChange indicates a plan that adheres as closely as possible to the current congressional district lines.
GooGoo refers to a “good government” plan that attempts to draw compact districts based on political subdivision lines, such as counties and cities.
MaxCom refers to a plan that attempts to maximize political competition by creating as many districts as possible that are evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.
PR refers to a plan that attempts to achieve proportional representation by producing districts that are likely to reflect the underlying partisan division in the state.
Portfolio indicates a plan that attempts to harmonize two or more of the principles described above or that adheres to principles insufficiently captured by the previous categories.
The ability to draw plans that are politically competitive or representative is contingent on the availability of recent state electoral data. States vary considerably in what data they make available. The political data used for this project is available at the Harvard Election Data Archive.
The plans and proposals contained herein reflect the views of the plan's authors only and not the views of Columbia Law School.