Online Resident Redistricting Can Restore Trust in Elections
An online resident redistricting application developed by Phoenix firms Research Advisory Services and Engineering Mapping Solutions featured real-time interactive editing of proposed districts, with immediate movement-by-movement feedback on population and demographic changes. Small data windows responded to mouse hovers to assist in selecting areas to move. Plans could be saved to work on later, and be submitted electronically. A PDF file of instructions and redistricting plan goals to be achieved was printable from within the application. A hide-able side-bar window briefly outlined the steps in creating a plan. A three-page plan analysis report was emailed to the resident within 24 hours.
This was the first online citizen redistricting program to be offered by local governments (six in all) in Arizona. As governments face increasing pressure from political parties to adopt maps that allow incumbents to select their own voters (instead of the other way round), giving the public the opportunity to submit maps was found to be a healthy 'safety valve'. And, in 2012, four citizen maps got adopted! Tony Sissons will show how the requirements of the U. S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and other redistricting principles were accommodated in the application's design.