Benchmarks needed for fair voting redistricting


The current redistricting efforts will affect our state for the next decade. Our voting districts may change due to the results of the 2020 census. Voting maps have historically been developed in secrecy, but benchmarks should be used in their creation. Benchmarks are standards against which the mapping process should be compared for fairness.

Our State Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment/Redistricting Committees should commit to using independent, non-partisan benchmarks to prevent bias and imbalance. Independent benchmarks have no political intent built in. Benchmarks show the number of competitive districts a fair map should have. Benchmarks can determine the proper number of minority districts, which is important to comply with federal voting rights legislation. The non-partisan group, Fair Districts GA (FDGA), and the Princeton Gerrymandering Project have used data to create fair benchmarks which are available on the Fair Districts GA website. Furthermore, legislators can submit draft maps to FDGA for evaluation at no cost. Such tools did not exist 10 years ago, but their use is an innovation that Georgia should adopt.

Contact members of the redistricting committees (legis.ga.gov) to ask them to guarantee a transparent, fair, and open process as they redraw the maps. We, the voters, need to be allowed input into this historically secret process. We all want fair maps, we want all voters to be equally represented, and we all want to avoid costly litigation due to unfair mapping. Ask your representatives to check their work and ask them to do what is right for our democracy.

Suzanne Sperling

Athens

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