Representable: Federal law allows redistricters to honor “communities of interest.” A community of interest is best defined as groups of people who share similar interests, and who may be affected in special ways by legislation. These interests can be racial, ethnic, religious, social, cultural, or economic. Across the nation, more than 20 states explicitly consider communities of interest when drawing state legislative districts, congressional districts, or both. Representable is a free, online service that allows the public to draw communities of interest, so that mapmakers are forced to keep these communities intact. The process of drawing and documenting communities of interest with Representable is likely to prove a powerful tool for fighting gerrymandering in 2021.
Representable is now available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Organizations can reach out to Representable about launching a community-mapping drive in their state!
Mapmaking Software: Today, there are a number of tools citizens can access to draw district plans. DistrictR, District Builder, and Dave’s Redistricting are free online platforms the public can use to craft, analyze, and share electoral maps. Another line-drawing option is “My Districting” by CitygateGIS. CitygateGIS provides services in the areas of redistricting plan creation, public meetings, analysis, and enhanced report production. For a moderate fee, voters and advocates can also use Maptitude or Esri.
PlanScore: This site scores historical districting plans and provides tools to score new maps. In particular PlanScore uses the efficiency gap, partisan bias, and the mean-median difference to measure partisan gerrymandering. As a redistricting resource, the creators have used these metrics to score state legislative and congressional district plans, including maps that date back to 1972. PlanScore offers scoring services; interested parties can upload a map to instantly receive information about partisan fairness. This is useful when comparing multiple maps in the same state.