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Redistricting: a critical process for our democracy

Redistricting is the process by which new district lines are drawn based upon how many congressional seats each state has been apportioned following a census, conducted every 10 years. Our next census will be 2020. The U.S. House of Representatives has 435 seats divided betwen all 50 states. Each state receives at least one congressional seat. The remaining 385 seats are divided - apportioned - according to the population, as determined by the US Census. As the population of states increase or decrease at varying rates, congressional seats need to be transferred between the states at each reapportionment. 

Redistricting has been troubled historically, mainly by a process of drawing the lines to favor a particular group in a process called gerrymandering. Each state, including Minnesota, decides the way in which redistricting occurs for that state as long as it adheres to national redistricting laws.


Useful Websites About Redistricting and Its Reform

  • All About Redistricting. This website, maintained by Professor Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, is one of the best all-around sites for understanding and following redistricting reform. It is particularly helpful for tracking lawsuits related to redistricting and serves as a portal to many other useful resources.
  • Redistricting Online. This is a nonpartisan online resource for redistricting information.
  • U.S. Department of Justice. This government website covers all federal laws relating to redistricitng, including every aspect of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Ballotpedia. An online encyclopedia about American politics and elections, created by a community of users and reviewed by professional editors. It is a useful source of information about how each of the 50 states handles redistricting.
  • Brennan Center for Justice. It is an excellent source of information about all aspects of redistricting. 
  • Prisoners of the Census. The Prison Policy Initiative created this website that provides information on redistricting issues that result from the way the US Census counts incarcerated persons.
  • Redrawing the Lines. Created by the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund, provides information on how redistricting can impact minority voters. 

Key Reports

  • Shining the Light: Redistricting Lessons Learned in 2011. In 2011, LWVUS prepared a white paper reviewing the experience of the 2011 reditricting cycle and what state leagues did to promote redistricting reform. 
  • The Impact of Redistricting in Your Community: A Guide to Redistricting. This report was produced by the NAACP Laegal Defense and Educational Fund, the Asian Americn Justice Cneter and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund at the start of the 2011 redistricting cycle to help minority communities understand the impact of redistricting on their lives and issues of concern.
  • . A briefing paper prepared by League members from across the state, examining three different reform proposals.
  • The Shape of Representative Democracy. In June 2005, the Campaign Legal Center and the Council for Excellence in Government covened a conference in Airlie, VA at which participants developed a consensus on seven broad principles for improving the way most states conduct redistricting. This is the report the conference generated.
  • Building a National Redistricting Reform Movement. 2006 LWVUS convened a second conference with the above 2 organizations to discuss strategies for promoting redistricting reform nationwide