Sacramento Asks Citizens To Help Redraw Boundaries With New App

The City of Sacramento, California, is opening its redistricting process to the public with the help of a free online tool built from Esri technology. Now through May 16, the City of Sacramento Redistricting Online application enables anyone to develop new district boundaries for consideration by the city's redistricting citizen advisory committee, which will make recommendations to the city council.

Every 10 years following the U.S. Census, the City of Sacramento is required to redraw the District boundaries to balance the population among 8 Council Districts. This process of balancing population is referred to as redistricting.  This year, the public will help with a free online tool built from Esri technology. Now through May 16, the City of Sacramento Redistricting Online application enables anyone to develop new district boundaries for consideration by the city’s redistricting citizen advisory committee, which will make recommendations to the city council.


“By offering a central place to create and submit plans, we can expand participation and communicate the objectives and challenges of redistricting,” says Maria MacGunigal, City of Sacramento IT manager. “Our goal is to make sure the community has the ability to develop a plan in a timely manner that works for both the citizens and the council.”

Sacramento IT staff worked with Esri to create the customized app based on Esri Redistricting, a comprehensive web-based redistricting solution. The Sacramento app enables users to redraw district boundaries to meet new population targets while keeping communities intact and adhering to federal, state, and city requirements. The online platform allows plans to be shared and revised before submission, enabling collaboration among citizen groups.

Since Sacramento is my hometown, I went to the redistricting site and played around for a little bit. The seven YouTube tutorials were very helpful. The redistricting is a time consuming venture worthwhile for a classroom setting. Students can learn the process of making sound decisions based on population growth in their city. Working with their local government, they will be able to understand the process of collaboration with government officials.

In the previous redistricting cycle, in 2001, the city sought public input by offering a free GIS-based desktop redistricting tool, since online offerings were not yet widely embraced. MacGunigal says strong participation and positive feedback from that experience created an expectation of continued public involvement in redistricting, supporting the decision to offer an online app.