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Politics

Redistricting Q&A: Bill Burke

January 27, 2011

Hotline: Are you guys also going to be part of the political process in the states? Recommending options for maps?

BB: We will not. We have not been involved in any of the politics of it. Never.

Hotline: Do you consider who controls the redistricting process in each state when you think about how you'll allocate resources? So if Republicans have complete control of redistricting in a state, will you choose to focus on another state where Democrats have a better chance to influence the outcome?

BB: We are providing the same services to everybody. We've been dealt a hand and whether we like it or not, that's the hand; and there is going to be redistricting, and some states will do better than others. But we want to make sure that everyone has the tools to do the best they can.

Hotline: When you meet with state legislative leaders, have you found their technical expertise in drawing maps and understanding the process to be lacking?

BB: I won't say that. What I will say is that because of term limits, a lot of leaders were not around in the last round of redistricting and have no experience with it. In some states, their staff was around the last time and still is around; but it varies - widely. So when we've gone in, we've just assumed that we're starting from scratch.

Hotline: What technology or program are you using?

BB: We're using Maptitude.

Hotline: What other data are you using?

BB: Well, NCEC electoral data that goes back 25 years. And they have either created or secured all kinds of data, right down to the legislative level, including consumer data. So, the technology hasn't really changed as much as the data has changed. So we're providing a mountain of data; we're giving them more data than they probably will use, but it is available and we are making it available.

Hotline: No one has really mentioned how consumer data can factor into this. Could you elaborate a little bit on that? You can use it to provide more specific information about each voter, right?

BB: Yeah. What they're doing for recreation, what some of their spending habits are. But it also has all of the data that's been used in the past -- all of the demographic information as well.

Hotline: What have you found to be the most important a part of the process so far?

BB: I think the key was getting started early and building relationships. Learning more about them, them learning about us. I think that's been the key.

Previous Redistricting Q&As:
Former New York Rep. Tom Reynolds (R)
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Executive Director Arturo Vargas
Texas Democratic strategist Matt Angle
California Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson
Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland

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