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Technology Intensifies State Redistricting Processes Technology Intensifies State Redistricting Processes

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Congress

Technology Intensifies State Redistricting Processes

January 31, 2011

From today's National Journal Daily:

With the Census Bureau scheduled to start providing the data needed to redraw congressional districts, a potential increase in the number of people using those numbers to make plans may complicate an already complex project.

As states dive into the sometimes divisive redistricting process, politics often overshadow the mechanics of the intricate calculations that must be made. Technology developed over the past two decades has made reapportionment easier for state governments that rarely have the expertise to manage the technical aspects of a project that takes place every 10 years, but the process remains involved, to say the least.

As with so many other areas of politics, there is a cadre of consultants, contractors, and vendors that steps in to help manage the remapping process. "States have to be thinking about what this will take, and I have a feeling many don't have any idea," said Kimball Brace, the president of Election Data Services and a consultant on redistricting since 1979.

The technology used to compile massive amounts of data and draw detailed maps of congressional districts has become increasingly streamlined and is a far cry from the restrictive process before computers became commonplace. Whereas 30 years ago interested parties could draw only a few dozen maps at a time, advanced computers and data processors can help create thousands, Brace said.

To read the rest of this article, visit the latest edition of National Journal Daily at Nationaljournal.com. (Subscription required)

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