Redistricting: Empowering Communities for Jobs, Education and Justice is a critical part of the continuum of NAACP Voter Empowerment work: voter registration; voter education; Get Out the Vote (GOTV); election protection; and redistricting. NAACP Units’ engagement in redistricting efforts is important and necessary to ensure that lines are drawn fairly and that communities have a fair opportunity to elect the representatives of their choice. Redistricting, therefore, is not an “island” unto itself but is intimately connected to the public policies implemented in our communities.
What are redistricting and reapportionment?
Redistricting is the process of redrawing the geographic boundaries of election districts for legislative bodies such as school boards, city councils, county commissions, parish councils, state legislatures and the U. S. House of Representatives. This is typically done in response to Census Bureau counts of population every ten years.
Reapportionment is the process of determining how many of the 435 seats in the U. S. House of
Representatives are to be assigned to each state, based upon the state population totals from the decennial census.
Why is redistricting so important?
Redistricting determines the boundaries of legislative seats from school boards to the U.S. House of
Representatives. The ideological or philosophical views of policymakers in these various legislative seats, and of candidates for those seats, can influence the types of public policies promoted by legislative bodies. These public policies may affect our health and our wealth, or whether students in our neighborhood attend a public school that supports or rejects the school-to-prison pipeline. These public policies may range from fair housing to fair employment, from public education to public works, from economic development to community development, from consumer protection to environmental protection.
The steps for NAACP Units to engage in redistricting activities in their communities are the following:
Utilize your Unit’s existing Political Action Committee to engage in the redistricting process;
Identify governmental units and their redistricting timetables;
Monitor governmental redistricting meetings and activities (including local government and school boards);
Utilize media (including social media) to establish communications;
Document all activities;
Communicate with the NAACP National Redistricting Project at NAACP Headquarters;
Present redistricting plans to media, legislators, and the public at large; and
Build coalitions with other civic organizations involved in similar redistricting efforts.
As NAACP Units actively participate in the redistricting process, the National Redistricting Project will assist Units across the country to work in their communities to implement these steps.
What is the role of the National Redistricting Project?
The National Redistricting Project has several components. Through community organizing and the use of media and new media, the National Redistricting Project will work to demystify the often-veiled connections between public policies we care about, on the one hand, and redistricting, on the other. The National Redistricting Project team includes the Field Operations Department, Communications Department, New Media Department, Development Department, and the Legal Department. This interdisciplinary approach to redistricting includes a range of NAACP Unit trainings for redistricting, analysis of redistricting plans, the development of alternative plans, the presentation of testimony to legislative or other redistricting bodies, the filing of comments with the U.S. Department of Justice, and where necessary, litigation.