The Project: Redistricting Expert Preparation

CHALLENGE

Training the Next Generation of Redistricting Experts

CensusChannel’s staff (Tony Fairfax) was hired to be one of two project managers in a unique expert preparation session. The project was sponsored by Duke University’s Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Social Sciences (REGSS) and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. The objective was to seek out quality persons with geographic information systems (GIS) experience and train them to be the “next generation of redistricting experts.”

SOLUTION

Develop a week long intensive training session

Fairfax developed a robust week long, eight hour-a-day training workshop session that covered all of the critical items pertaining to the demographic and mapping aspects of redistricting. Training covered the crucial aspects of “traditional redistricting criteria.” The session incorporated lecture presentations to hands-on computer training (utilizing Maptitude for Redistricting software) to mock litigation. He contacted and persuaded national redistricting and census professionals to participate in the project to provide training in their specialty. In addition, university political science faculty members throughout the country were contacted to provide suggestions for prospective participants. The session ended with the GIS participants developing plans for individuals outside of the training program in a realistic mock redistricting session.

RESULTS

Successful Training of Participants

Eighteen different cartographers were trained and each participated and played a role in the 2010 redistricting cycle.

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