When drawing new districts, map drawers are tasked with considering many criteria. Some are fairly clear; for example, districts should be contiguous. Some are legally mandated; districts should comply with the Voting Rights Act. Some seem easy to envision but harder to define when you start analyzing. For instance, we say districts should be compact, but there are many different measurements (we’re guessing you don’t want to read a blog post about Polsby-Popper or Reock measurements) so sometimes it comes down to “we’ll know it when we see it.”
There’s another criteria that can be hard to define but that map drawers are asked to consider: communities of interest. These may include economic factors (for instance a local industry that employees much of the community), geographic factors (coastal communities often share similar needs and interests), city boundaries, historic influences, and social and cultural identities. The League of Women Voters of South Carolina (LWVSC) also defines what we think communities of interest should not include: relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates or a community’s voting history (these can just lead straight to partisan gerrymandering.)
You can see how it would be hard for map drawers to understand what these communities actually are from afar – and that’s where you come in.
As the LWVSC begins drawing maps later this year to submit to the legislature as part of our People Powered Fair Maps campaign, we want to use your input to keep communities of interest together when we draw districts. We’re using Representable.org to collect your input. Here’s how it works:
We’d love for you to draw your community of interest using Representable.org and submit it to us at email@example.com. We’ve found it can be helpful to know what size community you should be thinking about; you may want to think of it in terms of an area not larger than a SC House District (you can look your current district map up here, which is an enlightening activity in and of itself!)
The districts that the legislature draws this year will impact the voters within them for years to come. The LWVSC wants to do all we can to advocate for fair maps – thanks for your help in getting there.