Redistricting Criteria and Goals
- One person, one vote: balancing of each of the legislative districts every ten years, after the Federal Census, so that they are “substantially equal” (generally +/-5% deviation):
100 House (about 30,000)
35 Senate (about 86,000)
+/-5% deviation is considered an acceptable margin. However, any violations of the below-mentioned goals and criteria would render the deviation impermissible.
- Section 2 of the VRA of 1965 (as amended) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or language minority.
- Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment limits redrawing district boundaries strictly based on race.
- Compactness, one of 4 geographic principles, or the “eyeball test,” refers to the shape of a district, round or square.
- Contiguous, continuity, (Latin: to have contact with) touching, common border. No Partial districts that are islands.
- The core of existing districts: whole counties, whole cities, whole precincts is the goal. Minimize splitting political subdivisions.
- Communities of interest: commonalities of economical, social, political, cultural, ethnic, or religious interests.
- Continuity of representation: Incumbency, will of the voters. Try to avoid making incumbents run against each other.
- Minimize partisanship: No targeting or giving preferential treatment. Beware of salamanders, little fingers, or abrupt lines to draw someone in or out of a district.