Mecklenburg County unveiled a new online tool today that allows residents to create and submit their own redistricting proposals.
“Traditionally, the public has had limited opportunities to shape the redistricting process,” said Brian Francis, Assistant to the County Manager. “The Mecklenburg County Redistricting Tool gives citizens the opportunity to participate in the process of drawing the districts from which commissioners are elected.”
Using the Redistricting Tool, residents can easily draw their own districts for the Board of County Commissioners or the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Users may then save their plans and see plans created by other users. The Redistricting Advisory Committee will consider these plans before they make their recommendations to the Board of Commissioners later this year. The committee, which was appointed by the commissioners, first met in March to begin the process of developing a plan for redrawing the County’s six district lines.
A video tutorial and instructions are provided with the Redistricting Tool, which was designed in collaboration with Mecklenburg County Geospatial Information Services (GIS) and the County Manager’s Office. The tool was created by Tobin Bradley, a senior systems analyst for GIS, with free open-source software at no cost to the taxpayer. The redistricting data and site source code have been released for public use.
“Voters sometimes question why they are in a different district than their neighbors down the road,” Francis added. “This will give them the opportunity to create a district where they and their neighbors have the same representative, and have a better understanding of the other considerations and restraints that can prevent such a district from being created.”