(The Center Square) – Minnesota legislators will tackle redistricting in the coming months, following the U.S. Census Bureau’s releasing 2020 data on each state Aug. 12.
The process could change the outcome of state and federal elections by redistributing voters into different districts. However, a much larger potential factor in changing results would be voter fraud.
The Census Bureau was due to deliver the data to the states by March 31 but there were stoppages, which the agency attributed to “COVID-19-related delays and prioritizing the delivery of the apportionment results.” Those delays tighten the timeline for redistricting.
The Minnesota Secretary of State’s 2021 Redistricting Guide describes the in-state process: “Within each state, district boundaries are drawn so that approximately the same number of persons are contained within each congressional district in the state in order to give all persons within the state equal representation. These offices include both chambers of the state legislature, county commissioner districts, and city wards, among others.”
The Minnesota legislature oversees the entire process with the governor’s final approval required. The steps include data analysis, hearings, tentative maps, and then the semifinal redrawing by Feb. 15 next year.
Following that deadline, the courts and counties review the results. That has to be done by late spring for candidates to be able to file by the end-of-May deadline. That enables the primary to take place on Aug. 9.
According to a new Associated Press analysis, the domination of state legislatures by Republicans allowed the 2010 Census to give the party an advantage in redistricting.
In other words, the Republicans redrew the lines so that their representatives would have more voters from their camp. The AP expects that dominance to take place in the current redistricting.
Minnesota is the only state where the two houses of the legislature are not controlled by one party. This complicates the redistricting process which could end up being decided by the courts.
“In the last three redistricting cycles in the State of Minnesota, redistricting has been an issue ultimately resolved by panels appointed by the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court,” according to a lawsuit suing for such a panel again.
In the recent legislative budget agreement, the only election modification included was increased security for ballot drop boxes. The Democrats had pushed for allowing felons voting privileges while the Republicans had proposed voter photo ID requirements.
“There was generally a stalemate,” Secretary of State Steve Simon told the St. Cloud Times.