The creation of political maps will push many Minnesotans into reorganized districts


This is also true if you live in one of the other three congressional districts in the Twin Cities area.

These five districts saw significant population gains in the 2020 census and they are due to lay off residents before the 2022 election.

Meanwhile, Minnesota’s three predominantly rural congressional districts – in the northern, southern, and western parts of the state – have all gained relatively few populations over the past decade and will need to expand.

The United States Constitution requires that legislative and congressional political boundaries be redistributed once every 10 years to reflect population changes after a new census. The new lines are meant to ensure that every part of the state has equal representation.

But more than that, “the battles for redistribution are about power – power for rural, urban or suburban areas, for particular parties or specific interests … (B) because it is about power, the process is highly partisan and controversial as parties seek to use the process to advance their interests, ”wrote David Schultz, professor of political science at Hamline University and professor at the University of Minnesota School of Law, in a Minnesota Lawyer magazine article this year.

The new constituency lines will dictate the political fate of legislative and congressional candidates and decide who controls the United States House and Minnesota legislature, possibly for the next decade.

State legislators are responsible for redrawing borders. Legislative committees have started to hold public hearings, but since lawmakers and the governor have not been able to agree on new maps for half a century and the current legislature is divided among Democrats who control the House and the Republicans who run the Senate. , the chances of getting a bipartisan deal are “pretty slim,” said state representative Paul Torkelson of Hanska, the top Republican on the House redistribution committee. Thus, state courts are likely to be called upon again to draw the new lines.

Nonetheless, Torkelson said, legislative hearings give the public an opportunity to express their views on redistribution principles, communities of interest and constituencies, and that information will be available to the court. “The contribution of the public and lawmakers is invaluable,” he said.

The judges are already preparing the ground to draw new lines. A handful of complainants, led by longtime legislative redistribution expert Peter Wattson and former Ramsey County Election Supervisor Joe Mansky, kicked off the process last winter by filing a complaint arguing that the districts The state’s current legislative and congressional laws are unconstitutional because they no longer have the same population. . Other lawsuits were filed later.

In June, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea appointed a panel of five judges to hear redistribution cases and draw new maps if the legislature fails to complete the job by the 15th. February. This panel is taking preliminary steps to assume this responsibility.

Redraw the political map

To rebalance Minnesota’s congressional districts, each would need to include 713,311 or 713,312 residents, according to the Minnesota State Demographic Center.

Here is where the population displacements will have to occur:

  • Democratic Representative Dean Phillips’ 3rd Congressional District, which includes suburbs north, west and south of Minneapolis, now has the state’s largest population – 737,898 – so it would need to be eliminated nearly 25,000 to meet “one person, one voice” needs.
  • Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar’s 5th District, which covers Minneapolis as well as small chunks of Anoka and Ramsey counties, is another fast-growing plot. It has 736,036 inhabitants, almost 23,000 more than it needs.
  • Republican Representative Tom Emmer’s 6th District – comprising most or all of Anoka, Benton, Carver, Sherburne, Stearns, Washington and Wright counties – has 733,957 residents, or nearly 21,000 to spare.
  • DFLer Craig’s CD2 has 731,958 inhabitants, almost 19,000 more than the ideal size.
  • Democrat McCollum’s CD4, covering almost all of Ramsey County and much of Washington County, has over 13,000 residents compared to the target population of 726,476 voters.
  • Republican Michelle Fischbach’s CD7, by far the largest stretch of the state in almost all of western Minnesota, also has the smallest population, 673,514. It takes nearly 40,000 more people to meet. the 2022 standard.
  • GOP Representative Pete Stauber’s CD8 covers northeastern Minnesota and is home to 675,929 residents, 37,000 less than it will need next year.
  • Republican Representative Jim Hagedorn’s CD1 stretches across southern Minnesota, from Wisconsin to South Dakota. It has 690,726 inhabitants, nearly 23,000 below the target.

Minnesota makeup is changing

Not only is the population of the state increasing, but it is diversifying. Blacks, Aboriginals and Other People of Color (BIPOC) now make up nearly 24% of the state’s population, up from 17% a decade ago, according to the latest figures from the 2020 U.S. Census.

State demographer Susan Bower said the data would be used to ensure that Minnesota’s new political districts are drawn fairly.

In July, three voting rights groups – Common Cause Minnesota, OneMN.org and Voices for Racial Justice – filed a lawsuit to ensure Minnesotans of color are represented in the state’s redistribution process.

“An unfair redistribution means that some members of our community have a voice while others are silenced,” Common Cause State Executive Director Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera said, announcing the lawsuit. “Every Minnesotan should be fairly represented on new district maps, regardless of race, ethnicity, zip code, income or political affiliation. “

She warned that racial gerrymandering – changing a constituency to help a political group or hurt its opponents – could prevent many Minnesotans from being fairly represented in the new maps.

This is Minnesota’s first lawsuit to address the race issue in the redistribution, Schultz said.

In the current congressional constituencies, only one of the eight Minnesotans in the US House is a person of color: Democrat Omar, a Somali American from Minneapolis.

To win more seats, BIPOC candidates would have to call for a large number of white voters as they constitute large majorities – 60 to 89% – in each constituency.

The 5th arrondissement of Omar has the largest fraction of residents of color, nearly 40%.

The 4th arrondissement, represented by McCollum for 20 years, has the second largest block of voters in BIPOC, 38%.

Some 28% of the residents of the 3rd arrondissement are people of color, and the residents of BIPOC represent 24% of the inhabitants of the 2nd arrondissement.

Most Minnesotans of color reside in and around the Twin Cities, but not all. Some rural districts have seen a sharp increase in the percentage of BIPOC residents living there over the past decade.

The exurban and rural 6th arrondissement experienced the strongest growth in percentage of residents of color. They now represent 15% of the population.

People of color represent 18% of the inhabitants of the 1st arrondissement, 14% in the 7th arrondissement and 11% in the CD8.

In drawing the 2012 Congress cards, the court made as few changes as possible to avoid voter confusion. This favored the incumbents.

To address racial disparities in the 2022 election, Schultz said, the legislature or court should do more than make minimal changes to current lines.


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