Prior to the NCSL conference, Republican data firm Magellan Strategies is hosting two days of Maptitude training. It’s free for interested Republicans and paid for by Magellan, not the Republican National Committee.
The NCSL event is somewhat unique because the partisan lines are blurred even though the political stakes are high in redistricting. The general sessions will bring both Democrats and Republicans together to learn about the technical and legal components of redistricting from partisan operatives, law professors and officials from the Census Bureau.
“We’re not revealing any deep, dark secrets,” said Braden, who will be part of a public session on the Voting Rights Act on Sunday. Republicans agree with Democrats on 90 percent of the issues to be discussed, Braden added.
For the issues where there is a difference in philosophy, each party will have a breakout session Friday before the general sessions that is closed to the press, the public and the other party.
The breakout is an opportunity for each party to be more candid and talk about state-specific strategies. But for the most part, this strategic planning session is not the beginning but a continuation of a planning process that has been going on for months, if not years.
The NCSL seminar marks a final step before the hypothetical maps and strategies move to the reality of the parties drawing new maps in each state.