The Census Bureau has begun to roll out redistricting data. So far, 2010 Census results have been released for 12 states, including Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia.
With the release of the P.L. 94-171 redistricting data -- race, Hispanic or Latino origin, voting age population and housing occupancy status -- the political games will begin.
Yes, data of any kind can make one's eyes glaze over. But get over it. For the first time, we the people can get into the game and draw our own lines. We now have access to free web-based mapping tools to draw congressional and state legislative boundaries.
Advocacy groups can use social media to educate the public about why they should care about redistricting, foster participation in the process, and promote transparency.
The upcoming public hearings will provide opportunities to compare citizen-generated plans with the legislature's proposed map. The public will be empowered to question whether the legislature's plan is intended to draw communities of interest or protect incumbents.
For more info, check out Redistricting the Nation.