Press Release from the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, Sept. 30, 2011:
NASHVILLE — Tennesseans who want to try their hand at drawing new boundaries for the state’s electoral districts can do so through a contest designed to educate residents about the redistricting process.
TN Redistricting: Map It Out! is a nonpartisan, statewide contest sponsored by the League of Women Voters, in cooperation with the First Amendment Center. Contest participants can compete for cash prizes by drawing electoral maps for state House, state Senate and congressional districts while learning more about the complex rules that lawmakers must follow when drafting redistricting plans.
“The Tennessee General Assembly is in the process of drawing new electoral boundaries based on the new census numbers,” said Margie Parsley, president of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee. “Legislators are encouraging public participation, and TN Redistricting: Map It Out! offers a great opportunity to educate Tennesseans about the redistricting process. It will be very interesting to see how the maps created during the contest compare with the maps created by our lawmakers.”
The contest will begin on Monday, Oct. 3, and end on Monday, Oct. 24, at midnight CDT. Anyone can enter, but only Tennessee residents are eligible to win. The League especially encourages middle school, high school and college students to participate, and a cash stipend is available for educators.
TN Redistricting: Map It Out! participants will use Dave’s Redistricting software to draw their district maps. Participants may enter a congressional district map or a state House and state Senate district map, or they may enter maps in both categories. All redistricting plans must comply with the Voting Rights Act and the constitutions of Tennessee and the United States. A complete list of rules and judging criteria can be found at www.tnmapitout.org.
Cash prizes totaling $4,000 will be divided among winners in the following categories:
- Best Overall State House Map
- Best Overall State Senate Map
- Best Overall Congressional Map
- Best Map by Tennessee Middle School
- Best Map by Tennessee High School
- Best Map by Tennessee College or University
Please note that, to win in the “Best Map by a School” categories, participating schools/universities must submit maps for state House, state Senate and congressional districts: a total of three maps.
The League invites the public to the official kick-off of TN Redistricting: Map It Out! on Thursday, Oct. 6, at 6:30 p.m., at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. The event will feature a public screening of Gerrymandering – a documentary that takes a nonpartisan approach to educating citizens about the implications of redistricting. The Belcourt Theatre is located at 2102 Belcourt Avenue. The movie will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TN Redistricting: Map It Out! is a nonpartisan, privately funded contest for the purposes of educating the public about the redistricting process and seeking public participation in that process.