From Sen. Tom Begich <[email protected]>
Subject The Census, gerrymandering, and drawing fair lines
Date October 24, 2019 10:15 PM
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SUBSCRIBE ‌ ‌ The 2020 Census October 24, 2019 In recent months, I’ve been meeting with folks, sharing how critical and important a full and accurate population count is for Alaska. The Census influences every level of government, from the allocation of federal funding to community decision making. These decisions impact schools, road and highway planning, business investment, housing infrastructure, and redistricting of our political boundaries. A complete count means that Alaska will receive the necessary resources to invest in our local schools, build infrastructure and roads, and support other community needs that help children, veterans, seniors, and families. A failure to count even one person during the 2020 Census will result in financial loss to our state. But, of course, federal funding isn’t the only impact the Census has on our state. Data from the 2020 Census will determine the future of our legislative districts. In 2010, I advocated for the drawing of district lines that created competitive districts so districts would fairly reflect our communities and constituencies. I am committed to the best possible outcome for fair representation in our state legislature. This is only possible through a complete and accurate Census count. The 2020 Census is only a few months away. I am pleased to say the Census starts this decade in Toksook Bay, Alaska. Unlike previous years, the 2020 Census will be conducted primarily online and over the telephone. My office is here to help anyone who might need assistance. Below I have provided more information below about local Census resources, high paying Census jobs, and the several ways you can get involved in education and advocacy efforts. Don’t forget to complete your Census and be counted! All my best, Senator Tom Begich Senate District J Census resources Click the following links for more information on the Census: AKPiRG's Redistricting Efforts Municipality of Anchorage Complete Count Commission Alaska Counts (Local Volunteer Opportunities) U.S Census Bureau The Census at AFN During the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention in Fairbanks last week, I spoke on a panel about the importance of the Census and the redistricting process. The panel was moderated by Tom Panamaroff from Koniag and included panelists Liz Medicine Crow from the First Alaskans Institute, Carol Gore from the Cook Inlet Housing Authority, April Ferguson from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and myself. Drawing new voting lines The results of the Census are directly used to redraw voting district lines. We want fair and equal representation, and being counted helps achieve that. Accurate Census data helps to safeguard these lines and accurately represent the people in each district. Gerrymandering is, in essence, the unfair drawing of voting lines throughout a district. We don't want this because it has potential to give one party, class, or interest group an unfair advantage that isn't representative of the residents in that area. graphic sourced from [link removed] In the first image (far left), we see there are two different groups of squares, representing voters: 40 percent of the voters are red and 60 percent are blue. The middle graph shows how the blue could gerrymander the map, shutting the red completely out. In the last image (far right), there are still five groups, but they are split up in such a way that gives the red group more representation than the blue when you look at the larger picture. This gives red the majority with control of three districts, and blue has only two—even though there are more blue voters overall. This is gerrymandering and it is not a fair way to create legislative districts. Preventing gerrymandering by drawing fair lines, based on Census results, helps accurately represent voters in your district and helps ensure your district elects officials who are representative of your values. Make your own schedule, get paid! The Census happens every 10 years, a complete and accurate enumeration of every person in our country. Information from the Census informs how federal funds are distributed for schools, roads, hospitals and communities. Since the last Census, Alaska has been allocated approximately $3.2 billion in federal dollars each year. This means, for every Alaskan not counted, our state loses out on much needed federal dollars. That’s why the Census needs you. Preparation for the decennial count is underway and field representatives are being hired in every community to help ensure an accurate and complete count. Hours are extremely flexible and the pay starts at $14 per hour. To learn more, visit:  Contact me! (907) 465-3704 (Juneau // session) (907) 269-0169 (Anchorage // interim) [email protected] Email ADN Send a letter to the Anchorage Daily News ‌ ‌ Sen. Tom Begich | State Capitol Building, 120 4th St, Room 11, Juneau, AK 99801 Unsubscribe [email protected] Update Profile | About Constant Contact Sent by [email protected]
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