Transparency and Representation in Redistricting

All parties regardless of political, religious, financial, or racial affiliation should be given adequate equal opportunity to participate in the redistricting process, including the public, and any changes that occur in the middle of the process should be accompanied by adequate time for all parties, including the public, to review the changes and submit comment/feedback. Just as there are checks and balances between the different branches of government to hold each branch accountable, so does there need to be as much transparency as possible in areas such as redistricting so politicians and the government are all held accountable to the public that they serve and corruption/manipulation is minimized as much as possible. Corruption is also minimized when rules and values are clearly and specifically defined (as in criteria for map drawing), so even when people do not agree on these, whatever compromise is reached must be laid out clearly and specifically to minimize loopholes, and any loopholes that come up are brought to light by transparency and immediately patched for the benefit of all. Map drawing criteria must be well-thought out, clear, and specific/well-defined, and although there may be changes to the maps as the demographics of the state change and even the rules and values may change when agreed upon by legislators and the public over time, strict transparency must always remain so everyone is held accountable. Also, just because there is no perfect map and we cannot achieve a perfect balance of power does not mean we should give up nor create even more imbalance through gerrymandering or protecting incumbancy. Representatives such as state senators and house representatives are called representatives because they are supposed to represent the people and their needs/interests, the portion of the public of the district they were elected from, so if they ignore the public or certain parts of the public in their district and the needs and communities of interest in their district, then they no longer represent the people and should no longer be a representative or called as such. That is part of the reason why districts should be compact and contiguous and keep communities of interest (whether similar schools, churches, neighborhoods, racial/ethnic groups, businesses etc) together so representatives are communicative and responsive to the needs and interests of all the people in their district, and the needs and interests of all parties are represented. All this should be the case regardless of whether we are referring to legislative or congressional maps and redistricting. Also, since the people in the state being represented by representatives are the same for both congressional maps and legislative maps, the process for both of these should also be the same, agreed upon, and transparent to the public that is being represented. Thank you for all your hard work so far, and please continue to move in the direction of greater transparency, diversity/representation, and clear and well-defined rules and values.