Redistricting FAQ 2021
What is Redistricting?
Redistricting is a process that legislative bodies undertake every ten years after the release of the decennial US Census. Redistricting is important because it determines how our electoral boundaries will be shaped for the next ten years. The location of where district lines are drawn impact the neighborhood's ability to elect fair representation. In order to ensure fair representation, your input matters.
Article I, Section 3 of the City’s Charter requires ward boundaries be redrawn every ten years in the year immediately following the United States decennial census. It specifies the ward boundaries must be drawn based on census data, and be “as nearly as practicable, compact and contiguous territory within straight lines, and contain as nearly as may be the same number of inhabitants.”
Why do we have to Redistrict?
Redistricting is a legally required process to ensure that every citizen’s vote is weighed equally. The purpose of redistricting is to balance or equalize the number of people in each ward to reflect changes in population since the last United States decennial census. Ward populations must be as near equal as practicable to ensure that everyone’s vote counts the same, and everyone has equal access to representation.
Who is counted in Redistricting?
The census tract data from the 2020 U.S. Census was used to formulate the map. All individuals who were counted in the 2020 U.S. Census are counted in the redistricting map.
Why do we have to reduce the wards from 28 to 14?
In 2012, voters passed a proposition that would reduce the number of wards from 28 to 14 after the release of the 2020 Census numbers. You can read the proposition here. The process to redistrict the wards began after the release of the 2020 Census numbers in late September 2021.
What is the Redistricting Process?
Article I, Section 3 of the City’s charter places responsibility for the redistricting process on the Board of Aldermen. It requires that the Board of Aldermen adopt this ordinance before the end of the calendar year of the year immediately following the United States decennial census.
Over the coming weeks, the Legislation Committee of the Board of Aldermen will be publicly meeting to create a fourteen-ward map that is fair, equitable and legal. In addition, they will be planning and determining how the new aldermanic structure will function to handle larger geographic wards, staffing and handling constituent matters. Board Bill 101, sponsored by Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed and 10th ward Alderman Joe Vollmer, will outline the final map for City of St. Louis.
The Board must adhere to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, to respect the concept of ‘one person, one vote;’ as well as meet all other legal requirements. The Board uses Caliper’s data driven mapping software Maptitude Geographic Information System to draw the ward maps.
What are the guidelines for Redistricting?
Pursuant to the requirements in Article 1, Section 3 of the Charter and Chapter 82 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri wards must be drawn so they are:
- Compact, having a minimum distance between all parts of the ward (a square, circle, or hexagon shaped ward is the most compact); and
- Contiguous (territories must be connected); and
- Contain as near an equal number of inhabitants as is practicable.
Where can I find the draft map?
On Nov. 1, 2021, a first working draft map was released. The first draft map was produced in an attempt to respond to the many members of the public who would like to see as many neighborhoods kept as whole as possible. This first draft map demonstrates that in order to meet the population legal requirements, not all neighborhoods will be able to be kept whole.
A second draft map was released on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at the Legislation Committee meeting. A third version of the draft will be released on Thursday, Nov. 11. All maps are posted here.
What happens after the map is complete?
After the map becomes law on Dec. 31, 2021, your representation remains the same. Your alderperson will remain your representative until the next Aldermanic Election in April 2023. After that election, there will be 14 Aldermen and a President for the City of St. Louis.
Do I need to change my voter registration following redistricting?
Persons duly registered to vote in the City prior to redistricting taking effect do not need to reregister or change their voter registration to vote in their ward after redistricting.
How can I get involved?
There are a number of ways you and your community can get involved:
Submit Public Comment on Proposed Maps - Visit our website to see proposed maps with new district boundaries and let us know your thoughts.
Attend a Public Meeting - Visit our page to learn more about public meetings we are hosting. These events are an opportunity for you to let the Board of Aldermen know how you define your community, where you think lines should be drawn, and how you feel about your neighborhood.
Host a Community Meeting – Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to send a representative to your meeting to explain the process and answer questions.