Help Minnesota draw its districts

Get involved in the normally secretive process of redistricting.

If you donâÄôt pay attention, the 2012 election could be over before you even get to the polls. That is because Minnesota is currently in the process of redrawing the political boundaries all over the state.

While this activity may seem boring, how the lines are drawn can have a huge impact on who wins and loses an election. If you have not heard of redistricting before, it is one of the biggest secrets at the State Capitol that politicians donâÄôt want you to know about.

For decades, politicians and political parties have had the power to redraw districts for their own benefit. The redistricting process in Minnesota is broken. But with legislators unwilling to fix it, it is up to us to have our voice heard now so that our voice makes a difference on Election Day.

In Minnesota, politicians have been unable to agree on the maps in three of the last four decades. When that happens, the Minnesota Supreme Court has to intervene to clean up the mess. For the first time ever, the Minnesota Supreme Court is letting members of the public help draw the lines.

One way to get involved in this process is to draw your own map. Common Cause and the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance are challenging students to draw a better map than legislators. Along with cash prizes, the top three winning entries for both the legislative and congressional maps will be submitted to the court for consideration.

Or, if you would like help drawing your own map, you should attend the âÄúGerry-Mander-ThonâÄù here on campus this weekend. This is an opportunity to draw a map that is not gerrymandered. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Humphrey School, Room 180 and more information can be found at drawminnesota.org. I encourage students to get involved in the redistricting process because these lines will affect all citizens for another 10 years.