The primary output of our project is a guide entitled “Applying GerryChain: A User’s Guide for Redistricting Problems”. This document, along with companion code for state-level case studies on Georgia, Colorado, and Texas is intended to empower citizen groups, non-partisan redistricting commissions, activists, and others to use GerryChain to engage in their state or local redistricting process. Though the use of GerryChain poses some technical barriers, for instance a familiarity with the Python coding language is necessary for its effective use, we sought to minimize other barriers by providing a comprehensive guide that answers many common questions and provides enough instructions and context to help users more easily apply GerryChain to their state’s redistricting process. This output is motivated by a commitment to the underlying principle of fairness in the redistricting process, which we define as maximizing inclusion and transparency by democratizing the resources, computational tools, and knowledge necessary for citizens to effectively participate in this process.
The release of this user’s guide intentionally coincides with the current redistricting cycle. Since the 2020 Census data was only released on August 12, 2021, most states have only just begun their formal redistricting processes. This guide is, therefore, a timely addition to the ongoing redistricting cycle. Though it is too early to tell how many people will use the guide in this cycle, the design and focus were informed by our meetings with several stakeholders already operating in the sphere of congressional redistricting. Given the technical complexity of this problem, and the fact that this is the first redistricting cycle in which computational tools like GerryChain are widely available, we are confident that there is both a need for resources like this guide that can help new users apply GerryChain to redistricting problems more effectively.
The completed “Applying GerryChain” user’s guide (Version 1.0) is now available to view online. You can also download the PDF version here. For questions or comments about the guide or its contents, please contact Dr. Daryl Deford at firstname.lastname@example.org.