Redistricting is the process that determines the allocation of political power and representation at every level of government across the US for at least the next ten years. Throughout the redistricting process, the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition is organizing a learning community to advance college interests and help advocates in their state push for fair, transparent, and equitable maps. Are you on a college campus and want to learn more about your role in pushing for equitable and representative maps? Use this page to help get started!
What is redistricting?
Redistricting happens once every ten years (typically the year after the US Census). It is the process of redrawing and revising district boundaries for representatives in elected bodies including the US House of Representatives, state legislatures, county commissions, city councils, school boards, and more! After reviewing Census data, your community will draw maps that help determine who represents them in your local, state and federal government. You have a unique opportunity to directly shape your community by advocating for your campus in this year’s redistricting process.
Why is redistricting important?
District lines determine who can run and be elected to public office, and they also determine the extent to which communities are fairly represented in Congress, as well as state and local representative bodies. Redistricting influences policies and resources allocated for education, health care, economic development, infrastructure, the environment, and other areas. Historically, redistricting has also been used by some to dilute or exclude communities from political power and representation. By stepping up and using your voice in the redistricting process, you can help ensure your community’s interests and needs are fairly represented.
how campuses can get involved
Campuses are uniquely impacted by redistricting. Hundreds of college campuses are currently split between congressional districts, precincts, and other electoral districts. These district splits can make election administration, voter education, voter registration, and advocacy efforts difficult to organize on campus, while diluting the voting power of the campus community. You can advocate for your campus as a Community of Interest to avoid these issues in the next decade by drawing Community of Interest Maps and advocating on their behalf. Participation in the redistricting process also serves as a great way to continue building an active culture of civic engagement on your college campus, even during non-election years.
As a college campus, you can take action directly by learning more about the redistricting process, educating your community, and drawing your own maps. Follow the steps below to ensure you are ready to be an educated and confident advocate for your community!
Learn more about redistricting
Check out the Redistricting 101 Webinar to learn the basics, how redistricting can affect campuses, and what you can do to participate in the process. (Watch the recording or check out the slides).
If you want to read additional information, you can find some helpful nonpartisan resources here and here.
Learn more about Community of Interest (COI) Mapping
Community of Interest Mapping can empower your community and you can use it as an advocacy tool. There are free online tools to create maps and organize your campus community.
Watch the COI Webinar recording and check out the slides.
Read State Voices’ COI Mapping for College Campuses and the CHARGE Hub’s Redistricting Community Handbook to learn more about how to draw COI maps for your campus.
Learn more about the redistricting process in your state!
Every state will work on a unique timeline and with their own processes for citizen input. Now that you’ve seen what resources exist to help your efforts, make sure to learn about your state’s specific laws using resources from our partner, Common Cause.
Also make sure to check out the IDHE Campus Boundaries Project, an interactive tool that allows users to learn where student populations around the nation are concentrated and how those areas have been divided to create districts.
Sign up for the SLSV Redistricting Working Group!
We meet the first Tuesday of every month from 4 - 5 PM ET. If you register here, you can add a recurring item to your calendar as well. We use this space to discuss new developments in the redistricting space, uplift partner tools and ideas that can help all our campus efforts, and brainstorm new ideas and work through challenges together.
Start drawing your own maps!
It has never been easier to draw your own map, whether it’s drawing your campus as a Community of Interest or drawing full legislative districts for your state. There are several online tools that can help you get started. The tool you choose should be based on your own goals and what you feel comfortable with.
We are big fans of Representable and have included a training on that platform in our Community of Interest training. Once you sign up for Representable, you can even see how other communities are drawing themselves through the State Voices’ Community Mapping Drive.
If you’re interested in seeing other available tools, our friends at the Redistricting Data Hub have made it easy to see what can work for you using their Choose Your Own Mapping Tool page.
If you have any questions related to your redistricting work on campus, please contact our Redistricting lead – Eddy Zerbe at email@example.com.