GIS Specialist for Local Redistricting

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The ACLU of Northern California (ACLU NorCal) seeks qualified proposers to provide professional and technical line drawing services for a limited-term contract position with the Democracy and Civic Engagement (DCE) Program team for local redistricting efforts across California. The prospective start date is August 2, 2021. This is a contract position which runs through mid-May 2022. 

About the Organization and the Democracy and Civic Engagement Program Team

The ACLU NorCal is an affiliate of a nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organizations dedicated to the defense and expansion of civil liberties and civil rights. The DCE Program team at ACLU NorCal protects the rights of people to participate in democratic processes and institutions. The DCE team works to ensure broader, more equitable and inclusive engagement in public discourse and participation in political activities. The DCE team ensures that voting rights are protected, government agencies and elected officials are accountable, and that core values like freedom of speech, the press, and civic engagement are defended against suppression.  

Duties, Responsibilities, and Statement of Work 

The contractor will work with the DCE team, community-based organizations, and community members to help create and propose legally compliant district maps during the 2021-22 redistricting cycle for select local jurisdictions in California (“Target Jurisdictions”). In addition, the contractor will help the DCE team analyze proposed maps in other local jurisdictions and help translate the results of quantitative analyses for a non-technical audience.

Below is a sampling of projects and tasks you can expect to dive into:

Phase 1 (Redistricting Preparation):

  • Work with DCE and other ACLU staff to review foundational data and map overlays, including reviewing and analyzing Census demographic data; city, county, and school district maps and jurisdiction boundaries; election results; and other relevant data sources.
  • Evaluate, acquire, and integrate new Census data products and electoral results.
  • Set up, access, and analyze redistricting data set.
  • Understand upcoming hearing and draft map timelines for the Target Jurisdictions.
  • Read and familiarize self with scholarship on racial and political gerrymandering necessary to inform quantitative methods for analyzing political and racial gerrymandering in local redistricting, including racially polarized voting (RPV) analysis.
  • Develop a detailed work plan in collaboration with the DCE team and other ACLU staff.
  • Participate in coalition meetings in Target Jurisdictions to begin gathering information about communities of interest.
  • Provide progress reports to ACLU staff.

Phase 2 (Line Drawing and Map Analysis): 

  • In consultation with ACLU attorneys and our coalition partners, create proposed map(s) that meet applicable legal requirements for our Target Jurisdictions using certified population data from the 2020 US Census for the State of California, including the population subgroups of California as enumerated by the 2020 US Census data. The 2020 Census Data used shall be that of the California Statewide Database located at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. 
  • Draft and make requested revisions to maps, alternate maps, or visualizations based on ACLU staff input.  
  • Assist in analyzing proposed maps in other local jurisdictions. Assist ACLU staff in crafting public comments about the maps. Create alternate proposed maps, as necessary. 
  • Analyze voting patterns by race and ethnicity using statistical methods such as ecological inference.
  • Conduct analyses of proposed redistricting plans to analyze partisan and racial gerrymandering. Identify the differences between the community-submitted maps and jurisdiction’s proposed and final maps. Present findings to ACLU staff.
  • Draft summary explaining basis for the mapping decisions to achieve compliance with redistricting legal criteria.
  • Regularly meet with ACLU staff to explain data sets, data analysis, and the mapping process. Provide technical education and consultation as needed.
  • Participate and present at coalition meetings, collecting relevant data for map drawing.
  • Participate and present at public hearings. Note that some hearings may be scheduled in the evening and/or on weekends.
  • Provide progress reports to ACLU staff.
  • Assist ACLU staff and coalitions meet public comment deadlines by completing proposed maps, providing map file(s), and PDFs of maps, in a timely manner. 


  • Analytical skills to perform redistricting mapping tasks, including building, geocoding, and importing additional data sets.
  • Familiarity with modern quantitative methods for analyzing political and racial gerrymandering in legislative redistricting.
  • Experience with US Census data products.
  • Experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, spatial data, or mapping software for redistricting (e.g. Maptitude).
  • Experience using statistical techniques such as ecological inference to analyze voting patterns by race and ethnicity, either in an academic or applied legal setting.
  • Experience working with state voter files and precinct-level electoral returns.
  • Familiarity with simulation modeling and outlier analysis for redistricting. 
  • Ability to quickly learn new empirical techniques.
  • Ability to clearly translate technical concepts for a non-technical audience.
  • Master’s or PhD in a social science (e.g. Economics, Political Science) or quantitative (e.g. computer science, applied mathematics, statistics) field, or equivalent experience in an applied setting.
  • Commitment to equity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regard to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.

The qualifications above do not represent an exhaustive list of requirements. The successful person will have some combination of the qualifications listed above. Anyone with variations of the qualifications above are encouraged to respond to this request for proposal.  

To be considered for this contract position please submit:

  1. Statement of Interest, which includes
    • Your interest in this contract position
    • Experience presenting data and to who
    • Whether you have worked with and/or own Maptitude or any other mapping software (e.g., Esri)
    • Whether you are working on other redistricting matters this redistricting cycle 
    • Any other commitments you have between August 2021 to May 2022
    • Desired hourly rate
    • Any anticipated costs associated with this project
  2. Resume/CV 
  3. At least 3 references who can attest to similar work performed. Reference information should include contact name, title, organization affiliation, email, phone number, and brief description of work performed
  4. Relevant sample work product

Please submit all application materials to: by Friday, June 11 at 5pm PST.

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