Events >

#468 Just crazy enough to work: How technologists, organizers, and everyday people can come together for a better Chicago


Chris Kanich, Commissioner, Chicago Advisory Redistricting Commission, he/him/his

Every ten years, voting districts are redrawn after the census to rebalance the total population to maintain the principle of one person, one vote. In Chicago, this process takes place behind closed doors in city hall, and leads to contorted wards that can lead to bad outcomes, especially for communities that are split up among several wards. While everyday Chicagoans typically don’t have an opportunity to participate in these negotiations, there is a provision of Illinois State Law that will send the question of a ward map to the voters if ten or more alderpeople support an alternate map.

Drafting an alternate map is no easy task - especially if you want to do it right. The explosion of easily accessible web based technologies in the past decades has fundamentally transformed how stakeholder engagement can happen as part of this process. However, as attendees of Chi Hack Night probably understand all too well, tech won’t save us. To effect real change that will improve peoples’ lives throughout our city, we need to find the right blend of people and technology that will truly empower everyday Chicagoans to have their voices heard in the redistricting process.

In this talk, Chris Kanich, commissioner of the Chicago Advisory Redistricting Commission, will provide an overview of how redistricting works in Chicago, how technology played an important but supporting role in the process of drawing The People’s Map, and what the next steps are that Chicagoans can take to make sure that the ward boundaries for the next decade are drawn by the people and for the people.

ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.