Dear Editor:

The legislative redistricting efforts taking place right now will affect our state for the next decade. According to the US Constitution, legislators are required to draw our voting districts using the results of the 2020 census.

Although representatives of both parties have historically developed maps in secrecy, the process of creating the new districts should be transparent and use benchmarks. Benchmarks are standards against which the mapping process should be compared.

Our State Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment/Redistricting committees should commit to using independent, non-partisan benchmarks to prevent bias and imbalance. Benchmarks show the number of competitive districts a fair map should have and can determine the proper number of minority districts in a state, which is important for complying with federal voting rights legislation. The non-partisan group Fair Districts GA has partnered with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project to use data from the census to create fair benchmarks. These benchmarks are on the FairDistrictsGA website, available to all. Importantly, legislators can submit draft maps to FDGA for evaluation of their fairness, at no cost. Such tools did not exist 10 years ago, but their use is an innovation that Georgia should adopt now.

Contact members of the redistricting committees (legis.ga.gov) to ask them to guarantee a transparent, fair, and open process as they re-draw maps. We citizens all want fair maps, we want all voters to be equally represented, and we all want to avoid costly litigation due to unfair mapping. That’s certainly not too much to ask. Ask your legislators to check their work against the benchmarks and do what is right for our democracy.

Lynn Ganim

Decatur

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