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October 27, 2021

9/17/2021 12:58:00 PM
Redistricting listening session September 20

In order to make sure the people of Minnesota and citizens of Chisago County in particular, enjoy equal representation at all levels of government,  there is a process underway called redistricting.  It happens after every U.S. census have been released. Population headcounts are verified and precincts and districts are compared.

Chisago County. grew by 2,734 people from 2000 to 2020.

The state legislature has a committee reviewing redistricting needs related to which areas grew and which areas shrunk in populaton. The committee has “listening sessions’ and residents of Congressional District 8 are invited to comment on-line September 20.

There almost certainly will be some new lines drawn for both the House and Senate districts in St. Paul that affect representation for Chisago County. Actions taken eventually by state lawmakers in session come February,  will be based on this committee’s recommendations.  This process could have an impact on what happens all the way down to the shapes and sizes of city precincts.

To comment on redistricting done at the state level members of the general public, due to covid concerns, must check in for an on-line slot for Sept. 20.  

Register with Nancy Conley, by Friday Sept. 17 end of day. Her e mail is Nancy.conley@house.mn.

This committee started meeting in August.  There have been virtual listening sessions for the public regarding Second, First, Third and Fourth Congressional Districts already.  Testimony from these sessions is posted on the legislature’s website.  Most of he remarks are related to keeping areas together that share common economies or cultural needs or that have projects that are in the works and can not be interrupted or shifted to another funding district.  (Rep. Anne Neu Brindley, North Branch, is a redistricting committee member. We left messages at a number of contacts but were unable to reach her for comment.)

At the Chisago County level, many local elections officials have already been attending on-line training sessions for  how to evaluate the data, what  can and can not be done as far as drawing new lines and specific deadlines.

At the state level the deadline (theoretically) is February 15.  Cities and townships draw precincts by March 29.  County commissioner districts need to be determined by April 26.

According to a handout from the County Auditor/Treasurer,  a commissioner may have to run for office after redistricting if redrawing of his or her district affects a population larger than five percent of the average district in the county.   There also would be an election if a term is expiring, but no County Board seats expire. until 2023.  (DuBose and Montzka)
County commissioners will be looking over population counts up to the April 26 2022 deadline,  to see if growth has left any district with more than a 10 percent variation from the average of all county districts or if districts are not as equal in population as possible.

County Auditor/Treasurer Bridgitte Konrad said she is meeting on a monthly basis now with the Office of the Secretary of State with all the other state elections administrators.  Any specific details affecting county boundaries will await what comes out of other jurisdictions. The county is the final step in this process.

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