By Ben Williams
If you’d asked NCSL’s Elections and Redistricting team at the beginning of the year what the hottest issues of 2020 would be, we would have said two things: the 2020 elections and the run-up to next year’s redistricting.
Now, in a world turned upside-down by COVID-19, skyrocketing unemployment, cratering state budgets and protests in response to the death of George Floyd, that picture has fundamentally changed. Even though we’re all distracted by the news, redistricting is just around the corner.
Of the many services NCSL provides to its members, among the most frequently requested is a 50-state comparative analysis. States want to know what the others are doing, for myriad reasons, such as discovering legislative trends or sizing up the commonness of a proposed bill. In the redistricting context, this includes the number of states using commissions, prevalence of various criteria in codes and constitutions, official and unofficial channels of dialogue between the public and line-drawers and data and software used.
You can now find all of this information in one place: NCSL’s new webpage, “Redistricting Systems: A 50-State Overview.” Designed to be clear and concise, the report contains all the information you need to know without superfluous details. By clicking on any state on the map, you will discover:
- Who draws the lines.
- Redistricting deadlines (if any).
- Criteria used.
- Public access and input rules in state codes and constitutions.
- Outcomes of the previous redistricting cycle.
- The makeup of the commission or board (if applicable).
- Whether prisoners are reallocated for redistricting purposes.
- A summary with any additional details that merit attention.
By gathering this information in one place, we hope to facilitate the exchange of information between states—a core tenet of NCSL’s mission.
Ben Williams is a policy specialist in NCSL's Elections and Redistricting Program.