Now just about anybody can draw up their own version of the City Council's district lines.
The independent commission set up to redraw the Council's lines to reflect the city's changing demographics today released free software online that can be used to create and submit maps for consideration.
The goal is to make the districting process more transparent and open to the public.
Every 10 years after the U.S. Census count, the district lines are redrawn for the Council, with the goal of ensuring fair and equal representation.
In the past, the process has been very much driven by the elected officials holding office, leading to gerrymandered district lines that are driven more by partisan politics and that can split communities with common interests.
The city's Districting Commission has been holding a series of public hearings and meetings since July to get as much feedback from the community as possible. The 15-member commission was created under the City Charter and consists of members appointed by the mayor, the Council's Democratic Caucus and the Council's Minority Caucus.
The commission released drafts of its maps yesterday.
People who don't have Internet access at home can go to the Districting Commission's offices at 253 Broadway, where anyone can use the software and get assistance for free.