Update on Redistricting Data and Special Legislative Session
The US Census Bureau (Census Bureau) has now released both the Legacy and Summary Redistricting files on their website. The information included in each file format is the same, however, the Summary Redistricting files are provided in an easier-to-use format. Topics in both formats include 2020 Census population counts by race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing unit data for counties, places, census tracts and blocks. Tables and maps are available at Census - Search Results. The Census Bureau also has in-depth instructional videos, tutorials, and other resources located at data.census.gov resources page and via the Census Academy, their virtual hub for learning data skills. The Georgia Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office has created several county and city data sets from these files that are available on their website at https://www.legis.ga.gov/joint-office/reapportionment.
The Govenor issued the call last month for a special session of the General Assembly to convene on November 3, 2021 to adopt new congressional and state senate and house maps. The call also allows for local legislation, including redistricting, which the General Assembly deems to be ”necessary to avoid unnecessary hardship or to avoid undue impairment of public functions” if delayed. The full proclamation can be read here. Due to the limited timeframe and the delay in receipt of data from the Census Bureau, it may be difficult to have local maps prepared by and pass through the legislative process during the special session. If your county decides to introduce local legislation during the special session rather than waiting for the regular session in January, it may be wise to consult your legislative delegation about the feasbility of getting local legislation passed. There is a new process that counties will have to follow if they decide to draw their own map or use a consultant instead of working with the Office of Reapportionment to draft their maps. Details on this new process as well as other local redistricting tools are availabe in the ACCG Local Redistricting Toolkit. Additional information on local redistricting is available on the ACCG website here and here.