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Wattson Plaintiffs Release Proposed Minnesota Congressional Redistricting Plan

Yesterday, September 7, the plaintiffs in a legal action seeking judicial oversight of the redistricting of Minnesota's congressional and legislative districts released their proposed plan to redraw Minnesota's congressional districts. The plaintiffs include LWV Minnesota. Under the proposed plan, Minnesota's Second Congressional District would exclude the southwest portion of Scott County, including Jordan and Belle Plaine, but would include a small portion of Carver County including Chaska. It appears that the majority of Northfield, located within Rice County, would become part of the First Congressional District, and Elko New Market would become part of the Sixth Congressional District. Newport and the southeast corner of Woodbury would be added to the Second Congressional District.

In late June Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea appointed five judges to a special redistricting panel, including Court of Appeals Judge Louise Dovre Bjorkman, Court of Appeals Judge Diane Bratvold, Becker County District Court Judge Jay Carlson, Washington County District Court Judge Juanita Freeman, and Dodge County District Court Judge Jodi Williamson. In her order establishing the panel, Justice Gildea noted that while "[f]uture legislative activity on redistricting is a possibility ... there are significant duties and responsibilities in the work required for redistricting. Further, legislative policy requires redistricting plans to be implemented no 'later than 25 weeks before the state primary election' in 2022 ... [t]hus, work by a redistricting panel must commence soon in order to permit the judicial branch to fulfill its proper role in assuring that valid redistricting plans are in place for the state legislative and congressional elections in 2022."

The special redistricting panel has ordered the parties to brief various issues and if oral argument is requested on the issue of the redistricting principles that the panel should consider, a hearing will be held on November 3, 2021, at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul.

If you would like to learn more, join LWV Minnesota and Clean Elections Minnesota at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 28 via Zoom for a discussion about Minnesota's redistricting process. Elections expert Peter Wattson, who is the lead plaintiff in the legal action referenced above, and columnist Lori Sturdevant, will lead the discussion. To register for the free event, please click here.

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