Redistricting & You
Posted on Thursday, Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:14 am
Redistricting is happening right now! Locally, redistricting is the process of redrawing the City's alder districts and wards based on population changes over the last decade, using 2020 Census results. Redistricting determines which communities and neighborhoods are assembled into alder districts. Wards and polling places will also be adjusted to align with the redrawn boundaries. Through redistricting, the population within each alder district is equalized so residents across the City have equal representation on the Common Council. Redistricting is a challenging process, even in a “normal” post-census year, but this year’s effort is compressed due to COVID-delayed results from the Census Bureau. The City and our Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee is working hard to make sure our new districts are ready prior to December 1st so spring 2022 elections can use the new boundaries.
The Redistricting Committee is considering a variety of criteria as they look to establish new boundaries, many of which are required by state or federal law. Districts must:
- Have equal population.
- Enhance the participation of communities of color and communities that primarily use a language other than English.
- Be compact.
- Be contiguous.
- Account for Communities of Interest. The Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) states that “[r]especting communities of interest in a redistricting plan means attempting to group like-minded or similar people so that they may elect a representative of their choice who reflects their common values in a manner relevant to legislative representation.” The Committee voted to consider the following communities of interest:
- Neighborhoods and neighborhood associations.
- Elementary school attendance areas.
- College students.
- Housing tenure/transience (owner/renter).
- Income distribution.
The Committee is also looking at, where practical, using major roads and other physical barriers (railroads, open space areas) as alder district boundaries, and ensuring numerous alder districts are exposed to future population growth.
Redistricting is critical to our city, county, state, and national elections. While the redistricting timeline is compressed due to COVID, there is still time for city residents to participate! Community members can visit cityofmadison.com/Redistricting for more information and subscribe to updates. An interactive map, where people can post comments about their communities of interest, will be available soon via the redistricting web page. The community can also join us at one of our Redistricting Informational Meetings on Wednesday, September 22nd from 12:00 -1:00 pm or 6:00 - 7:00 pm. You can also watch and/or register to comment at upcoming Redistricting Committee meetings. There will also be opportunities to review redistricting information in person at City of Madison libraries from September 20-26.
We hope to hear from folks who are interested in this once-a-decade process!