The 411 on Redistricting
You may have heard about redistricting - there has been some hubbub through media outlets. GNDC polled our membership in Dakota Digest to see if they've been following the efforts; 44% reported yes, 21% responded no, leaving 35% to confess that they've attempted, but are a bit lost.
So what is going on - let's unpack it a little in the quickest, down and dirty version. Every 10 years with the new census count, states need to redraw their state legislative district lines to ensure equal representation of the state's citizens. Many times, by many people it is viewed as a political process but in reality, it is a math problem. District lines need to shift in order to ensure a similar population count in each district. North Dakota’s population grew almost 16% over the past decade. This means approximately 2,000 people will need to be added to each redrawn district bringing the per district population total to around 16,500. Western North Dakota and Cass County saw the largest population increases requiring additional attention.
The 16 member Legislative Redistricting Committee made up of both Republican and Democrat Senators and Representatives met 12 times to gather public input to aid in redrawing these boundary lines. At their last meeting, the committee approved the final map that will be considered for passage.
Here's where things have landed:
- The body will remain unchanged at 47 districts with 141 legislators
- Created two subdistricts within the districts that contain the Fort Berthold and Turtle Mountain Reservations
- 3 districts were moved from rural areas in the state to western North Dakota and Fargo
- Eight Republican lawmakers and 1 Democrat will be pushed out of their district
GNDC monitored redistricting because the decisions made by this process will impact the makeup of the legislative body. As stated earlier, this is not a political process but we want to retain Chamber Champions, who understand and support the needs of business.
What’s next in the process? Legislative Management will need to approve the Legislative Redistricting Committee report at the November 1 meeting. Next, the map will go to the House and Senate during the Reconvened Session which is slated to gavel in, in early November. Once approved by both the House and Senate it will require signature by the Governor.