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Understanding Redistricting

What is Redistricting?

Most of our elected political representatives are sorted into voting districts. Redrawing the boundary lines for these districts is called redistricting. Redistricting takes place every ten years, using updated decennial U.S. Census counts. Updated demographic and population counts are used to adjust existing or create new district boundaries, aiming for roughly equal distribution of the population.

What is redistricting and how does it affect you?

Learn all about redistricting, why it matters, and what you can do to influence it.

How Does Redistricting Affect Me?

The way district lines are drawn may include or exclude certain people, affecting who gets heard, whose interests are represented, and who can win the next election. When politicians control redistricting, it can become a way for them to pick their preferred voters and secure their own power.

What is Gerrymandering?

Gerrymandering is the deliberate drawing of districts in a way that maximizes the power of politicians. Gerrymandering may result in oddly-shaped districts designed to greatly increase or decrease a certain kind of voter (e.g., Black voters or Republican voters). Racial gerrymandering places voters in districts based on race. Partisan gerrymandering places voters in districts based on which party they have historically voted for, with a similar intent of reducing competition and benefiting one party.

How Can We Improve the Redistricting Process?

At Democracy North Carolina, we believe redistricting should be a fair and transparent process that: 

  • protects voters of color by drawing districts that reflect the requirements of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment;
  • includes public comment and invites robust debate from community members, academics, and other stakeholders, and incorporates that feedback in the creation of districts; and
  • eliminates partisan or racial gerrymandering of voting districts.

What Can I Do to Promote Fair Redistricting? Visit the Action Hub: