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Public Testimony Data Collection

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Testimony is available to download from 22 redistricting bodies in 14 states.

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Collecting Written and Verbal Testimony

An important part of the redistricting process is public input. To varying degrees, redistricting bodies provide access to the public to share their views, whether that be on the goals of redistricting, the boundaries of proposed maps, the process itself, or something else. This input may be given in a letter, an email, on a website, or in person.

Public input is especially important when it comes to Communities of Interest (COIs). Many individuals and organizations took advantage of the free mapping tools available this cycle, and submitted a map of their COI. Just as often, members of the public will also provide a written description of their COI and a justification for why it should be kept whole during redistricting.

What Testimony We Collected

For this project, we focused on collecting all written and verbal testimony on legislative or congressional redistricting in 14 key states. Some states have different bodies that handle legislative and congressional redistricting. In other states the legislature draws all the lines, but the House and Senate may work separately or jointly. In at least one state a court selected the maps, including a map produced by what was initially a parallel commission. As a result, we collected testimony from 22 redistricting bodies in 14 states.

How We Collected Testimony

Within each state, we sought to collect testimony in three formats:

  1. Testimony submitted through an online portal, by email, or both. In some states, these comments were already made available online; in other states we had to contact a staff member to obtain copies.
  2. Comments on specific proposed or draft maps. This was true in 6 of 14 states.
  3. Testimony provided in public hearings or other meetings. We obtained transcripts or recordings, and downloaded any written copies of testimony provided during these hearings and posted online.

In some states, we were also able to confirm with a staff member that what we had collected was all the testimony publicly available.

How Testimony Can be Used to Analyze Maps

In addition to providing important input during the process, testimony can also be useful for analyzing the process and maps after the fact. The ability to analyze whether and how maps took Communities of Interest (COIs) into account is why we have already collected COI maps in 41 states. Similarly, we hope that the collection of this testimony enables organizations, researchers, and members of the public to answer important questions about what input was given and what was taken into account during the 2021 redistricting cycle.

Learn more about this data

Send a message to our Help Desk with questions about the public input process and the data collected.

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Related Resources

Public Access to State Redistricting Processes

Participate by accessing the online resources to submit public testimony and maps, follow or register to attend upcoming meetings, and view past meeting notes and recordings.

Community of Interest Map Collection Project

Collecting and creating a database of COI maps submitted during the 2021 redistricting cycle

Community of Interest (COI)

A community of interest COI is a group of people with shared concerns, interests, and characteristics.