The Public Mapping Project: How Public Participation Can Revolutionize Redistricting

September 19, 2018 | NH Institute of Politics

Elections to all levels of U.S. government are held within districts. The drawing of a district's boundaries can be detrimental to its quality of representation, benefitting political parties and incumbents instead. The practice of manipulating district lines for political gain is so ingrained in American politics, a special word has been devised for it: gerrymandering.

The 2018 midterm elections will determine who controls the redistricting process in many states, thereby shaping representation for the next decade. In the last round of redistricting, Michael McDonald and his colleagues provided tools and opportunities for the public to become more engaged in the process. As a result, the public created thousands more redistricting plans for states to consider than in previous decades. McDonald will reflect on the current political and legal situation and the role the public may play in the impending round of redistricting.

Michael McDonald is an associate professor of political science at the University of Florida. He and his colleagues led the Public Mapping Project, which provided web-accessible redistricting software and data for public use. Their experiences are expounded in the forthcoming book, The Public Mapping Project: How Public Participation Can Revolutionize Redistricting. He has been a redistricting consultant in fourteen states, most recently being an expert witness in the successful challenge to Virginia’s congressional districts as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander and is an expert for the Republican plaintiffs challenging Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District. He also releases voting statistics through the United States Elections Project.

September 19, 2018 from 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

NHIOP Auditorium