Washington DC Redistricting Seminar Presentions

Map of Washington, DC area under magnifying glass

NCSL National Redistricting Seminar Presentations ♦ Washington D.C. ♦ January 21-January 24, 2011

 Day 1 |Day 2Day 3 |Day 4 |

Day 1: Friday, January 21, 2011


 Optional--Pre-conference Political Party Meetings

There will be Democratic and Republican redistricting meetings prior to the beginning of NCSL's seminar.  If you are affiliated with one of the two major parties and would like to attend a redistricting pre-conference with your fellow partisans, please register directly by e-mailing the respective e-mails below to receive more information.  


Optional--Software User Group Meetings

Representatives from redistricting software providers will be available to meet with users to discuss new features and common concerns.

Day 2: Saturday, January 22, 2011


Redistricting Basics and Terminology

The process for redistricting varies greatly from state to state.  In this introductory session, you'll get an overview of how states approach the job along with a primer on the unique terminology associated with redistricting.

Moderator: Senator Don Balfour, Georgia

Speaker: Justin Levitt, Associate Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, California

A complete copy of Justin's presentation is available here.

A complete copy of the Brennan Center publication - A Citizens Guide To Redistricting is available here


Drawing Maps that Will Stand Up in Court

Redistricting law that will cover the constitutional and case law basics that every legislator, staffer and interested observer should know before getting involved in drawing plans.  This is the legal foundation that undergirds the process.

Speaker: Peter Wattson, Counsel to the Governor, Minnesota

A complete copy of Peter's presentation is available here.

A complete copy of the publication - Drawing Maps That Will Stand Up in Court is available here.

A copy of the handout Where To Find Redistricting Law is available here.   


Census Updates

The session will review census basics and more, including the big change of having five-year-estimate American Community Survey data available for 2011 line drawing. 

Speaker: Cathy McCully, Chief, Redistricting Data Office, United State Census Bureau, Washington, D.C.

A complete copy of Cathy McCully's presentations is availble here.



The Redistricting Toolbox

Clark Bensen, Polidata, Virginia
Debra Levine, Co-Executive Director, Reapportionment Task Force, New York

A complete copy of Clark Bensen's handout is available here.

A complete copy of Debra Levine's presentation is available here.


The Shifting Sands of Redistricting Law:  Unanswered Questions for the 2010 Cycle

For well over 20 years, the one constant in redistricting law is the that it is frequently in flux.  Is redistricting law settled?  Do federal court decisions since 2000 give clues to what the next "landmark" decisions will be?

Nathaniel Persily, Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law and Political Science, Columbia Law School, New York

Michael Carvin, Partner, Jones Day LLP, Washington, D.C.
Kristen Clarke, Co-Director, Political Participation Project, NAACP LDF, Inc., New York
Ben Ginsberg, Attorney, Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, D.C.
Paul Smith, Partner, Jenner and Block LLP, Washington, D.C.

A complete online catalog of redistricting cases since the 1980s is available here.


Commission Systems: Pros and Cons

In 2011, there will be at least 13 states where legislative redistricting will be done by a board or commission including California where voters turned the task over to a system that would make Rube Goldberg proud.  How will the California system work?  Will more states remove the responsibility from the legislature?  What are the advantages and the disadvantages of commissions?

Jeff Wice, Special Counsel, Senate, New York

Bruce Cain, Director of the University of California Washington Center, Washington, D.C.
Steve Lynn, Former Chair, Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, Arizona
Michael McDonald, George Mason University, Virginia

For more information on redistricting commissions visit NCSL's Redistricting Commissions Table here.

Day 3: Sunday, January 23, 2011


Introduction to Hands-on Redistricting Exercise

This session will explain the rules for the simulation exercise and assign participants to a group.


John Guthrie, Staff Director, Senate Reapportionment Committee, Florida
Peter Wattson, Counsel to the Governor, Minnesota

A copy of the handout for this presentation is available here.  


Concurrent Sessions:

Session A - Hands-on Redistricting Exercise
Participants will break into small groups and draw district plans.  Groups will tackle a simulation with a specific goal and present completed plans to the full meeting after completion.

A copy of this session's handouts are available here


Session B (Part 1) - Vote Dilution Analysis: What is it and why is it important?

The Voting Rights Act is perhaps the most influential statute on the redistricting process.  In this session, experts will discuss the methodology of vote dilution analysis and why it is important for legislatures to understand this process when thinking about redistricting.


Representative Rick Gallot, Louisiana


Lisa Handley, Director, Frontier International Electoral Consulting, Washington, D.C.
John Tanner, former Chief of the Voting Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C.

A complete copy of this presentation is available here.

Session B (Part 2) - The Voting Rights Act and Coalition, Crossover, and Influence Districts

What have federal courts said about these types of districts?  How does the redistricting authority identify them?  Will the Supreme Court weigh in once again on these districts having ruled on crossover districts in the 2009 North Carolina redistricting case Barlett vs. Strickland?


Mark Braden, Attorney, Baker Hostetler LLP, Washington, D.C.
Anita Earls, Executive Director, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, North Carolina

A complete copy of Anita Earls' presentation is available here.


Partisan Gerrymandering:  The Legal Limitations and Lack Thereof

In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Pennsylvania congressional plan that some claimed was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.  Most legal scholars think the court left the door barely cracked for a future challenge.  What can legislatures glean from the expanded body of Supreme Court jurisprudence on the topic of gerrymandering?  Is there a line that cannot be crossed?


Justin Levitt, Associate Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, California
Dale Oldham, Redistricting Counsel, Republican National Committee, Washington, D.C.


Concurrent Sessions:

Session A - Adopting Guidelines for Redistricting

Guidelines can help legislative committees and commissions understand limits and goals in the redistricting process.  They can also lead to unreasonable expections.  How do you find the right balance?  What do you do when criteria conflict with one another?  In this session, a panel of experts and experience legislative staff will walk through  common districting guidelines and discuss how they can be defined and measured as well as the pros and cons of using guidelines.


Jeff Wice, Special Counsel, Senate, New York
Peter Wattson, Counsel to the Governor, Minnesota

A complete copy of all Peter Wattson's presentations and handouts are available here.   

Session B - Is Your Database Ready?

The data needs for redistricting can seem overwhelming.  Will your state's database be ready to go when census data arrives next February and March?  What can go wrong with a database and how can you avoid problems?

Speaker: Karin MacDonald, Director, Statewide Database & Election Administration Research Center, University of California

A complete copy of Karin MacDonald's presentation is available here

Speaker: Kim Brace, Election Data Services, Virginia

A complete copy of Kim Brace's presentation is available here.


Using Redistricting Data and Software After Districts are Drawn

Most legislatures develop elaborate systems for the redistricting process.  Once the lines have been adopted, how can those systems be used to help the legislature in policymaking?  What can be done now to ensure that the systems don't just get mothballed once redistricting ends?


Clare Dyer, Legislative Council, Texas
John Guthrie, Staff Director, Senate Reapportionment Committee, Florida

A complete copy of Clare Dyer's presentation is available here.

A complete copy of John Guthrie's presentation is available here.

Day 4: Monday, January 24, 2011


Redistricting Simulation Wrap-up and Judging of Plans

Simulation participants will present the maps that were drawn on Sunday and try to convince the audience to vote for their plan.  Prizes will be awarded to the teams that draw the winning plans.

A copy of all of simulation maps are available here


Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) Data and the 2011 Redistricting Cycle

Many legislators and staff are trying to determine if CVAP will be an issue in the 2011 cycle or will it be the "dog that doesn't bite?"


Douglas Johnson, National Demographics Corporation, California
Reed Witherby, Partner, Smith & Duggan LLP, Massachusetts
Jason Torchinsky, Partner, Holtzman Vogel PLLC, Washington, D.C.

A complete copy of Doug Johnson's presentation is available here.


Avoiding the Pitfalls and Getting Plans Done in Time for the Next Election

This session will feature practical advice from peers about how to accomplish redistricting successfully.

Senator Spencer Coggs, Wisconsin
Tom Hofeller, Redistricting Director, Republican National Committee, Washington D.C.
Senator Ray Holmberg, North Dakota

A complete copy of Tom Hofeller's presentation is available here.


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