New districts should be made fairly

Many groups have submitted politically charged redistricting proposals.

by Melanie Williams

The process of redistricting the state of Minnesota has been underway for months now, and representatives have been submitting their proposed congressional maps to the state courtâÄôs redistricting panel. It is up to lawmakers to divide the state into representative districts but should they fail to do so, the job falls to the courts. Several different maps have been proposed by Republicans, the DFL and other concerned organizations, and all have received tremendous amounts of criticism for the obvious political bias that seems to dominate the lines they draw. It would seem that neither party wants to draw a fair, representative map, and itâÄôs more than likely that the duty of drawing the new districts will have to be carried out by the redistricting panel itself. The maps that have been drawn thus far by parties have all favored the safety of their congressional seats at the expense of fair representation of MinnesotansâÄô interests. This is a partisan effort, and itâÄôs not fair in a representative democracy. Additionally, the proposed maps seem to have been drawn carelessly and illogically. In the DFL version, two prominent and opposing incumbents, Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, would be running head-to-head to win in the same district. If Bachmann were to win, she would then be representing the largely Democratic St. Paul. This is not just the case in Minnesota. In several states that are in the process of redistricting, similar political plays have threatened to reshape the way in which these states are represented. ItâÄôs discouraging to watch political parties attempt to literally reshape our democracy to suit their own interests instead of listening to and looking out for the constituents theyâÄôre supposed to represent. We donâÄôt need lines that protect political parties. We need districts that accurately represent the state of Minnesota.