Avencia Launches Redistricting the Nation.com, a Public Engagement Web Application to Measure Compactness and Gerrymandering of U.S. Election Districts

Launch Coincides with Release of Avencia's National Redistricting Study

PHILADELPHIA — (BUSINESS WIRE) — October 21, 2009 — With Redistricting 2011 coming up, Avencia Incorporated, a Philadelphia-based geographic analysis and software development firm, is releasing “ Redistricting The Nation” ( www.redistrictingthenation.com) to provide the public with better information about the legislative redistricting process and tools that support fair representation. The expanded use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has created both new potential for sophisticated gerrymandering and a possible means of implementing unbiased redistricting.

The site allows citizens and advocacy groups to:

  • Enter their address and view the “shape” of their federal, state, and local election districts.
  • Learn who is in charge of drawing their districts’ boundaries.
  • Compare the “compactness” scores of their election district to other districts.
  • Draw new district boundaries on a map and generate compactness scores for the new district.

Avencia is also releasing a revised version of its 2006 study of gerrymandering: “ Redraw the Map on Redistricting 2010”. The new study expands the scope and methodology of Avencia’s original “Gerrymandering Index” to include state-level and council districts, political wards for several new cities, and introduces three additional techniques for measuring districts’ compactness. While poor compactness scores do not prove gerrymandering, they are a measurable indication of the practice.

The white paper ranks the ten most gerrymandered local, state, and federal districts in the country based on four different measures of compactness. The study reveals some interesting findings. For instance, at the Congressional level, both FL-22 and NC-12 rank high in the study’s Top Ten list.

The white paper analysis was made possible by Avencia’s Cicero product, a legislative district matching and elected official lookup web API. “It is exciting to be able to leverage our global database of legislative districts and GIS analysis tools to promote good government and nonpartisan redistricting,” said Robert Cheetham, Avencia’s CEO. “It is a process that can be easily manipulated to protect incumbents and discourage competitive races. Our goal with this site is to both educate the public early in the Census 2010 cycle, and to create software tools that will promote a more open, citizen-driven, and transparent redistricting process in 2011.”

For PDF version, click here.


Abby Fretz, 215.701.7503
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