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Opening the Redistricting Process to Citizens

If you build it, will they come?

If one questioned the general public about redistricting, as a Pew survey did in 2006, one would find only modest awareness of the topic and generally negative opinions of the current process. This comes as no surprise to those who observed the 2010 elections and follow trends in open government and transparency. Citizens are less inclined to trust their elected officials than ever before, and the redistricting exercises this spring may provide further grounds for discontent.
A number of groups have sought to address the lack of public engagement in elections and promote transparency in redistricting. Legislation to transfer the task of redistricting to a board of appointed citizens was proposed in several states and adopted by Arizona and California. But does a transfer of responsibility for redistricting, with its inherent power, satisfy the public’s growing expectations for transparency and inclusion? A number of interest groups propose citizens be granted access to the same data and redistricting tools legislators would use. Texas, Georgia, and Florida did this in 2000 and plan to again, at no small expense. To what effect?
If a redistricting tool were built that allowed citizens to construct plans, will redistricting bodies

Can GIS technology help states engage their constituents in the redistricting process while accounting for its complex regulations and rules?

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