Rethinking redistricting

May 25, 2011

Rethinking redistricting

A discussion about the future of legislative redistricting in Illinois


Once every 10 years, states engage in what is known as redistricting or drawing the electoral map. This process has great influence on or even determines the outcome of elections over the 10 years that follow. Redistricting is a task necessary to reflect the changes in population of a state over the previous 10 years as documented by the United States Census.

IGPA initiated a major project focusing on the redistricting process. The IGPA project is designed to be educational. A report (below) entitled "Rethinking Redistricting: A Discussion About the Future of Legislative Redistricting in Illinois" provides background information about how the redistricting process is working in all states and examines public preferences and knowledge with respect to redistricting.

IGPA also engaged in a process of drawing maps based on a fixed-set of criteria. We implicitly posed the question: as we compare our maps to the ones adopted in 2000 and 2010, what are the major differences?

Our redistricting project examines redistricting from several different perspectives: a) a public opinion survey designed to examine the public’s knowledge of redistricting and preferences for how this process should work; (b) drawing a computer-generated map of Illinois General Assembly districts based on three major criteria: compactness, contiguousness, and compliance with the 1965 Voter Rights Act; (c) comparison of the computer-model map with the actual 2000 map and with proposed 2010 maps; (d) drawing alternative congressional district maps and comparing these to what was adopted in 2000; and (e) analyzing “best practices” from all 50 states. 


(.PDF 6.92 MB)

Additional Resources

Research Area: Politics & Government

Policy Initiative: none