Public Involvement in Balancing Traditional Districting Criteria
Independent districting commissions encourage public engagement in the districting process, helping to balance competing stakeholder interests within guardrails established by Federal and State laws. This chapter highlights three common concerns: avoiding minority vote dilution, preserving communities of interest, and drawing reasonably compact lines. It recounts the public process through which the City of Waterbury, CT agreed upon and enacted a new five-district city aldermanic districting plan in 2015. Successive public commission meetings over several months accommodated a lengthy process of negotiation among citizen groups with different agendas. The outcome was a unanimously agreed-upon plan that addressed the above three concerns.