Position on Redistricting

State or National:

National

Position in Brief: 

The League of Women Voters believes responsibility for redistricting preferably should be vested in an independent special commission, with a membership that reflects the diversity of the unit of government, including citizens at large, representatives of public interest groups, and members of minority groups.

Details: 

Every redistricting process should include:

  • Specific timelines for the steps leading to a redistricting plan
  • Full disclosure throughout the process and public hearings on the plan proposed for adoption
    • Redistricting at all levels of government must be accomplished in an open, unbiased manner with citizen participation and access at all levels and steps of the process, and
    • Should be subject to open meeting laws.
  • A provision that any redistricting plan should be adopted by the redistricting authority with more than a simple majority vote.
    • Remedial provisions should be established in the event that the redistricting authority fails to enact a plan. Specific provisions should be made for court review of redistricting measures and for courts to require the redistricting authority to act on a specific schedule.
      • Time limits should be set for initiating court action for review.
      • The courts should promptly review and rule on any challenge to a redistricting plan and require adjustments if the standards have not been met.

The standards on which a redistricting plan is based, and on which any plan should be judged, must:

  • Be enforceable in court
  • Require:
    • Substantially equal population
    • Geographic contiguity
    • Effective representation of racial and linguistic minorities
  • Provide for (to the extent possible)
    • Promotion of partisan fairness
    • Preservation and protection of “communities of interest”
    • Respect for boundaries of municipalities and counties
  • Compactness and competitiveness may also be considered as criteria so long as they do not conflict with the above criteria
  • Explicitly reject
    • Protection of incumbents, through such devices as considering an incumbent’s address
    • Preferential treatment for a political party, through such devices as considering party affiliation, voting history, and candidate residence

Position History: 

Statement of Position on Redistricting, as Adopted by Concurrence, June 2016. This position does not supersede any existing state League redistricting position.