Bringing an end to unfair redistricting

Why pushing the issue into a public forum would benefit everyone.

by David Steinberg

We all know that every decade the U.S. government counts every citizen within its borders; itâÄôs constitutionally mandated. However, something many people do not know is that legislators redraw every legislative district line, both state and national, to account for any population shifts so that each district has about the same number of people.
A citizensâÄô organization called Draw the Line Minnesota has the idea that voters should have a more prominent voice in redrawing these lines every 10 years. Their slogan: âÄúVoters should pick their politicians, not the other way around.âÄù
Despite the fact that it now seems like the stateâÄôs courts will draw the lines after Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the GOPâÄôs proposal in May, this group is pushing for the peopleâÄôs voices to be heard. Having the courts draw district boundaries is at least impartial, but fails to give voters a proper say in the creation of their districts.
Redistricting has long been plagued with manipulation. Legislators in power draw the lines that give them the best chance to win while carving apart solid communities in the process. Redistricting, which has such a big influence on people and their communities, should be subject to more influence from the public and a more transparent process. All redistricting business should be completed in a public forum.
Instead of sitting back while legislators customize the districts that they will campaign in, voters should help create the districts in which they will vote âÄî and they should be able to do so out in the open, in public.
Draw the Line Minnesota wishes to push all relevant discussions regarding redistricting into the daylight and make all pertinent information public, rather than letting redistricting be the product of backroom dealings. This is the best way to keep citizens informed and involved, and acknowledge and preserve districtsâÄô diversity, politically and demographically.