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Drawing New Districts

Gerrymandering- Districts most extreme
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

By now you have probably received an envelope in the mail that says, United States Census 2020. You are supposed to go online and fill it out before April 1. There are many reasons why you should do so. The most important reason is the fact the census count will determine how many representatives you will have in the future.

The state you are living in has changed significantly in the last ten years when the last census was taken. Those changing numbers will be used by your state legislature in 2021 to redraw the lines for congress, the state legislature, the state board of education, and various courts.

The Census Bureau is required to get the data to state legislatures by this time next year, but the hope is that it will arrive earlier. Then the process of drawing these lines will begin. How that is done varies from state to state. Legislators draw lines in most states, while commissions draw lines in others.

As you might imagine, Democratic legislators would like the lines drawn so there are potentially more Democratic districts. Republicans would like boundaries drawn so more Republicans could be elected.

There are other issues to consider. For example, most state laws require districts to follow county lines whenever that is possible. Sometimes numerous counties must be bunched together in areas with low population density. Citizens would like to keep cities, towns, and school districts together. Getting all of that in a single district is sometimes difficult.

Add to that the requirement from the Voting Rights Act that requires boundaries assure that anyone has the right to vote based on race, ethnicity, and language group. And this law has also provided a context for bringing numerous lawsuits against states once the maps are drawn.

In order to start this process, you need to fill out the census. Then you need to express your views about the drawing of districts for this next decade.

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