Could open source increase fairness and transparency in redistricting? | Opensource.com

Could open source increase fairness and transparency in redistricting?

Posted 25 Nov 2011 by 

Jason Hibbets (Red Hat)
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State legislatures around the United States have been going through a redistricting process where they are updating the electoral boundaries that will impact future elections. Do you think the open source way could play a role in this process?

The goal of redistricting in the U.S. is to balance the number of people that each member of Congress represents. For example, if a state has 5 million people and 10 congressional districts, each district should have around 500,000 people in it, balancing the population to elected representation.

The redistricting process often occurs the year after new U.S. census data is released. States then redraw the boundaries of their districts in response to reported population changes. However, the redistricting process is highly political, and state legislatures are often accused of manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan districts, often known as gerrymandering.

Open thread

Could transparency, openness, and data-driven analysis create an outcome that is more fair for the people instead of the politicians? Would a more open process prevent gerrymandering or any political gain from this cat and mouse game?

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1 Comments

Mary-Ann Baldwin

This is an excellent idea and suggestion. I read an article in the New York Times on Sunday about gerrymandering. Many cities are being torn apart by redistricting, and we've all seen what has happened in North Carolina. No matter which party is in charge, we should have a more transparent process that is fairer to the voters. After all, that's what democracy is really all about.

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Jason Hibbets is a project manager in Corporate Marketing at Red Hat where he is the lead administrator, content curator, and community manager for Opensource.com. He has been with Red Hat since 2003 and is the author of, The foundation for an open source city. Prior roles include senior marketing specialist, Red Hat Knowledgebase maintainer, and support engineer. Follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets

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