Minnesota Citizens Redistricting Commission Public Hearings

Posted on 08/08/2011

Stay Informed

The Commission Members serving on the Minnesota Citizens Redistricting Commission are volunteers, who are committing a significant amount of time and effort to this process.  To that end, Draw the Line Minnesota has devised a process we feel is both transparent and limits the necessity of significant days of travel for Commission members.

The Commission will rely heavily on technology, so that much of its work can be done on the internet and by conference call. To that end, public meetings will be livestreamed (where possible) and taped and posted on our website.  Any communications received by the Commission or Draw the Line Minnesota, related to map-drawing or redistricting principles, will also be uploaded to our website.

Throughout August and September, two public meetings will be held in each of the current Congressional Districts: one prior to the drafting of first maps, and one post.

All testimony, written and in person, will be posted in the Resource Library.

Hearing Schedule

Monday, September 12th – 6:30-8:00 pm
Congressional District #1 Public Testimony
Council Chambers, Winona City Hall
207 Lafayette Street
Winona, MN 55987

Wednesday, September 14th – 7:00-9:00 pm
Congressional District #3 Public Testimony
Maple Grove Community Center
12951 Weaver Lake Road
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Monday, September 19th – 6:30-8:30 pm
Congressional District #4 Public Testimony
Rondo Library
461 Dale Street North
St Paul, MN 55103

Tuesday, September 20th – 12:00-1:30 pm
Congressional District #8 Public Testimony
Zeitgeist Café
222 East Superior St.
Duluth MN 55802

Tuesday, September 20th – 7:00 – 9:00 pm
First United Methodist Church (Cooper Top)
230 E Skyline Pkwy
Duluth, MN 55811

Wednesday, September 21st – 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Congressional District #6 Public Testimony
Stillwater Council Chambers, City Hall
216 4th Street North
Stillwater MN 55082

Thursday, September 22nd – 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Congressional District #5 Public Testimony
Minneapolis South High School
3131 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Tuesday, September 27th – 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Congressional District #7 Public Testimony
Moorhead State University
Comstock Memorial Union (Rm 227)
615 14th Street South
Moorhead, MN 56563

Wednesday, September 28th – 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Congressional District #2 Public Testimony
Burnsville Council Chambers
100 Civic Center Pkwy
Burnsville, MN 5533

Previous Hearings

Saturday, July 30, 2011 – St. Paul – Initial Training Meeting and Testimony on Redistricting Principles

Wednesday August 10 from 6:30-8:30
Congressional District #5 Public Testimony
Urban Research Engagement Center
2001 Plymouth Ave. North
Minneapolis MN 554511

Thursday, August 11 from 7-9
Congressional District #2 Public Testimony
Northfield Senior Center
1651 Jefferson Pkwy
Northfield MN 55057

Tuesday, August 16 from 7-9
Congressional District #3 Public Testimony
Minnetonka City Hall
14600 Minnetonka Boulevard
Minnetonka MN 55345

Wednesday, August 17 from 6:30-8:30
Congressional District #4 Public Testimony
Hmong American Partnership
1075 Arcade St.
St. Paul MN 55106

Thursday, August 18 from 7-9
Congressional District #6 Public Testimony
St. Cloud Public Library
1300 St. Germain Street
St. Cloud MN 56301

Wednesday, August 24 from 6:00 to 8:00
Congressional District #7 Public Testimony
Willmar Public Library
410 5th Street Southwest
Willmar MN 56201

Thursday, August 25 from 7 – 9
Congressional District #8 Public Testimony
Central Hillside Community Center
12 East 4th Street
Duluth MN 55805

Tuesday, August 30 from 7-9
Congressional District #1 Public Testimony
Rasmussen College
130 Saint Andrews Drive
Mankato MN 56001

10 Responses

  1. Deanna Steckman says:

    I am wondering why the redistricting cannot be completed by computer technology utilizing population numbers, density, geographical distances, etc. with no regard to political parties of the residents or politicians.

    • Good question, Deanna. There are a few challenges with an all-computer approach to redistricting.

      First, seemingly neutral criteria often have significant electoral outcomes. Michael McDonald’s work shows this principle very clearly. (see http://elections.gmu.edu/Midwest_Mapping_Project_MN.pdf )

      He told a computer to run congressional maps based on different criteria and then analyzed the electoral outcomes. When he told the computer to draw Congressional districts in such as way as to split as few counties as possible, the resulting map favored Republicans. When he told it to split as few cities and towns as possible, the resulting map favored Democrats.

      So you see that a neutral criteria, such as trying not to divide a county or city into multiple districts, will have political outcomes. So one fear with this process is that partisan gerrymandering would be much more difficult to detect.

      In addition, it is very hard to code for things like the Voting Richts Act requirements for redistricting, which is far more complicated than just looking at demographic data.

    • MBerg says:

      Beyond Mr. Narabrook’s response, it’s also worth noting that even if a computer could do a “fair, objective” redistricting, that’s really not what “Draw the Line MN” is about.

      DTL is running a cynical, misleading campaign, claiming to be “non-partisan” but really fully in bed with “progressives” throughout the Midwest. It is funded by “progressive” pressure groups (“Take Action”, “Common Cause”) all of which are astroturf fronts for “progressive” money.

      DTL’s campaign is a potemkin effort to deceive the public.

      • david_wheeler says:

        Yes, MBerg, Draw the Line Minnesota is multi-partisan and non-partisan, which as you know is a great Minnesota tradition. Members of the citizens commission are Republican and have worked closely with the Minnesota and national Republican Party; there are members who are connected with the Independence Party, there are those who have been active with the DFL, and others who are non-aligned.

        Unlike most ultra-partisan groups, Draw the Line Minnesota does not attack people with differing views, but embraces them to best represent all the citizens of Minnesota. If you have helpful input to the process, we would be delighted to receive it. Citizens of all stripes from around Minnesota have weighed in on redistricting and that will make a difference in how the lines are drawn.

        • GGross says:

          Mr. Wheeler, When will the deception end? Saying that “Historically, redistricting has been done out of the public eye” isn’t relevant. What matters is what’s happening this time. This time, the House Redistricting Committee held 15 hearings at the Capitol, with public hearings in Hermantown, Marshall & Rochester. Saying that redistricting was “used to dilute the voting power of communities of color” without offering proof isn’t just irresponsible. It’s downright racist gossipmongering.

          DTLM should be ashamed of themselves for making such incendiary, unsubstantiated comments.

          Further, being aligned with TakeAction Minnesota aligns DTLM with the corrupt organization that ran the biggest smear campaign in state gubernatorial politics. Is that the type of association that supposed good government types want to make? God help us if it is.

          That isn’t Good Government, Inc. It’s Corrupt Politics, Inc.

          Finally, saying that the Citizens Commission was “initiated for and by the people” is preposterous. They’re an astroturf intiative created by proponents of big government.

          Far from being unbiased, DTLM’s member organizations are committed to increasing the size & influence of government.

  2. (Continued)

    Lastly, it is very hard to find an algorithm or code that can tell a computer how to make the right decisions on the very local level.

    Take the example of Minneapolis, which is divided into many Legislative House districts. Multiple decisions have to be made on how to divide the city, which precise streets to go on, etc. Doing this in a way that will create good representation and districts often requires a very nuanced understanding of the city and its neighborhoods.

    A computer might create districts that combine residential areas, downtown areas, the University, a commercial park districts, etc. in ways that would make it very difficult to represent, and it’s very challenging to tell a computer to identify what are called ‘communities of interest.’

    Oftentimes, keeping communities of interest together, such as commercial and trade corridors, areas with shared communications or transportation, ethnic and cultural connections, school districts, etc., are far more important to creating solid representation than factors like population density and geography.

  3. Dan Goeden says:

    Is there a fee of any kind to attend these public forums in Willmar on the 24th of Aug. Please let me know. My number is 218-640-6039 and email is dannygoeden@hotmail.com Hope to hear from someone soon THANK YOU Dan Goeden

  4. Laura Fredrick Wang says:

    Hi Dan, There is no fee. The hearings are free and open to the public. Hope to see you there.

    Laura Fredrick Wang
    League of Women Voters Minnesota

  5. David Olson says:

    While the focus is on federal and state offices, one should also realize that local and county governments will also be conducting redistricting of their political lines as a result of the census. As Common Cause points out, “Citizens, not political parties, should be the driving force behind redistricting. District lines need to be drawn around where we live — not around politicians looking only to protect their base of support.”

    Well the same message applies at all levels of government.
    For example, in rural Minnesota, specifically Becker County, the only members of the County redisticting committee which will draw up County Board districts are two elected officials – the County Board Chairman, Barry Nelson, who will be directly impacted by how lines are drawn and is up for election and the Auditor-Treasurer who is elected county wide and will not be impacted. Despite State laws that outline a three week public notice, these politicians have held meeting with the City to draw new lines.

    The latest news is that Chairman Nelson is promoting a plan to corral his opposition into one district – obviously not his and deny the majority of voters in Detroit Lakes their fair share of representation.

    We all know that Barry Nelson wants to run for District 9B, when the incumbent runs for State Senate and is trying to keep anyone from running by isolating his opposition by ensuring his re-election to the County Board.

    The public needs to be part of this discussion at all levels of government – citizens need to watch redistricting to make sure that districts are not carved up for the benefit of incumbents.

    Districts at all levels need to reflect voters not elected officials and needs to be done in the open, not in back rooms.

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