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Subject: Re-districting redefined?


Software Opens up Redistricting
USA Today (03/21/11) P. 8A Gregory Korte 

College students, professional software developers, and political activists across the United States are using newly developed software to better draw political districts. For example, Virginia and Michigan are holding public contests using George Mason University-developed software to remove gerrymandering from the political process. "The goal is to move beyond just having forums with citizens to talk about redistricting, but give citizens the tools to draw their own maps," says Michigan Center for Election Law director Jocelyn Benson. Columbia University law students are using drawcongress.org to draw districts for all 435 U.S. House of Representative seats. "People can see how the process works, so it's a little less mysterious than it was 10 years ago," says Dave Bradley, a Seattle-based software developer who created DavesRedistricting.com. The programs address the many complications inherent in redistricting, such as creating political districts that are compact and follow natural boundaries. "The technology has evolved so much that it's become almost entirely democratized," says Bob Holsworth, chairman of Virginia's bipartisan redistricting commission. "This will be a fact of political life from now on."


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