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The Census, Redistricting and Gerrymandering

Conversation Guide

Every decade, our voting districts are modified according to the census data. While every district has roughly the same population, they are often drawn (or gerrymandered) in such a way to favor the incumbent, a political party, or any group. But does this serve us? And what can be done? This conversation examines the way districts are done and we explore how it could work better. It’s wonky, yes. But it’s also the foundation of our governance system.

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on The Census, Redistricting and Gerrymandering?

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • Who should decide voting districts? I.e. the state legislature, citizen commission, party-appointed commission, governor appointed commission, the courts/judges, or ??
  • If you were king/queen for a day, how would you draw districts? Should certain ethnic or minority groups have protected districts to increase representation?
  • How should city/county boundaries and geography play a role in drawing district lines?
  • Have you ever been surprised to find out you were or were not in a voting district?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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Thank You!

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