Civic Nebraska @ the Statehouse: Expanding to 55 districts

Expanding the Nebraska Legislature to 55 districts is an opportunity for state government to be transparent about the process, to invite public feedback, and to codify good redistricting practices, Director of Voting Rights John Cartier told the Legislature's Executive Board.

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On Wednesday, the Executive Board of the Nebraska Legislature heard testimony on LR279CA , a proposed constitutional amendment to authorize the expansion of the Legislature from 49 to 55 districts. Here is Director of Voting Rights John Cartier‘s testimony on Civic Nebraska’s behalf.

Hello, members of the Executive Committee. For the record, my name is John Cartier. I am the director of voting rights for Civic Nebraska, a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to protect the interests of all Nebraska voters.

I want to very briefly testify in a neutral capacity because Civic Nebraska does not have a position on the size of the Legislature. But we have a strong interest in improving, whenever possible, the public’s trust in the Nebraska Legislature. 

Expanding the size of the Legislature will invite scrutiny; specifically, scrutiny on how we draw our legislative maps. I will let the folks who have been here for more than a decade unpack the issues arising from the drawing of the 2011 maps, as I am here mostly to make sure the committee knows that the American public is better informed about and cares more about the redistricting process than ever before. Redistricting and gerrymandering are top of mind issues for millions of voters throughout the country. 

If you do choose to expand the Legislature to 55 districts, please use this opportunity to be transparent about your process, to invite public feedback, and to codify good redistricting practices. We support the creation of an independent redistricting commission, but we also support codifying good rules in the Legislature.

Whatever you do, please know that the conversation surrounding LR279CA must accompany a healthy redistricting or anti-gerrymandering conversation if we are to maintain or improve the public’s trust in the Nebraska Legislature. 

Thank you for your time.

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