There is a path to fair redistricting in Nebraska, but it is dependent upon involvement of the voters in the state.
Elected positions subject to redistricting include congressional representatives, state legislators, Nebraska Supreme Court judges, members of the State Board of Education, the University of Nebraska Regents and members of the Public Service Commission. The current redistricting process is governed by ordinary statute: a committee of Nebraska legislators selected by the Legislature’s Executive Board prepares district lines. A simple legislative majority, subject to gubernatorial veto, is needed to approve the redistricting plan.
The math associated with redistricting is straightforward: in 2010, roughly 36,000 people per district with the requirement that districts be contiguous, compact and kept to county boundaries when practicable. The political process to make this happen is not always straightforward.
It is critical that everyone in Nebraska go to 2020census.gov to be counted. Then ask your family and friends to do the same before Sept. 30. An accurate count of Nebraskans means funding is sent where it's needed and voting districts reflect your community.
When meeting with candidates who are running for legislature this November, ask them about redistricting. Emphasize that it is critical to protect the redistricting process from domination of one political party, gerrymandering and secrecy. Ask about the creation of statutory protections against these practices.
To date, 17 states have adopted nonpartisan or bipartisan independent redistricting commissions to strengthen community input, increase transparency and prevent partisan gerrymandering. The League of Women Voters believes that responsibility for fair redistricting should be vested in this type of commission.
The future of Nebraska is in your hands. Help assure that redistricting is fair and transparent.
Sheri St. Clair, Lincoln
League of Women Voters