National League Policy on Redistricting
The League of Women Voters believes responsibility for redistricting preferably should be vested in an independent special commission, with membership that reflects the diversity of the unit of government, including citizens at large, representatives of public interest groups, and members of minority groups.
What does a good redistricting system look like?
Every redistricting process should include:
- Specific timelines for the steps leading to a redistricting plan
- Full disclosure throughout the process and public hearings on the plan proposed for adoption
- Redistricting at all levels of government must be accomplished in an open, unbiased manner with citizen participation and access at all levels and steps of the process, and
- Should be subject to open meeting laws.
- A provision that any redistricting plan should be adopted by the redistricting authority with more than a simple majority vote.
- Remedial provisions established in the event that the redistricting authority fails to enact a plan. Specific provisions should be made for court review of redistricting measures and for courts to require the redistricting authority to act on a specific schedule.
- Time limits should be set for initiating court action for review.
- The courts should promptly review and rule on any challenge to a redistricting plan and require adjustments if the standards have not been met.
The standards on which a redistricting plan is based, and on which any plan should be judged, must:
- Be enforceable in court, by requiring: substantially equal population, geographic contiguity, and effective representation of racial and linguistic minorities
- Provide (to the extent possible) for promotion of partisan fairness, preservation and protection of “communities of interest,” and respect for boundaries of municipalities and counties
- Explicitly reject: protection of incumbents, through such devices as considering an incumbent’s address and preferential treatment for a political party, through such devices as considering party affiliation, voting history and candidate residence
Compactness and competitiveness may also be considered as criteria so long as they do not conflict with the above criteria.