Episode 32767: Open Democracy Minute for Sept. 6, 2021: Since can't count on fair maps from the sate, the Map-a-Thon Citizen Mapping Project draws its own
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You're listening to the Open Democracy Minute, keeping Granite State government by and for the people.
While the state legislature's Special Committee on Redistricting has just started learning how to use its software, the Map-a-Thon citizen mapping project is already busy collecting information and drawing fair, nonpartisan maps. Its next meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.
Job one for the Map-a-Thon participants was to help collect data called “Communities of Interest”-- important features which bind towns together, including regional school districts, shared services and common interests. These are factors that the legislature should consider, but have ignored in the past.
Using Communities of Interest data, the NH Constitution's requirements, NH Supreme Court decisions, and other fair mapping data, a criteria was established for each of the NH House, Senate, Executive Council, and U.S. Congress districts. Using specialized publicly-available software, the Map-a-Thon's maps are being constructed by a volunteer team of engineers, data analysts and GIS mapping experts from throughout NH.
The first maps will be shown to the public on September 7, feedback given, changes made, and another review on September 21. After the final tweeks, the maps will be distributed to the public and the press, on October 1st and are expected to draw a stark contrast to the maps drawn by partisan legislators.
The public is invited to participate in the Map-a-Thon meetings on Zoom by registering at OpenDemocracyNH.org/calendar
As Granny D said, “Democracy is not something we HAVE, it's something we DO.”
For the Open Democracy Minute, I'm Brian Beihl.