What does MN Census data mean for redistricting?

Samantha Boring
Created: May 04, 2021 07:16 AM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - Minnesota avoided losing a seat in congress after the 2020 Census data was released and as more data comes out, that means the Minnesota Legislature will start planning for redistricting. 

Redistricting is where boundaries are changed in legislative districts. This process happens every 10 years when new Census data is released. This year, plans are being delayed because the full Census data is not available yet due to the pandemic. The data was supposed to be given to states by April 1st, but it is now expected in mid to late August. Normally redistricting plans are introduced as bills by both the House and Senate and then are voted on. But in Minnesota, it is not uncommon for lawmakers to not come to an agreement, the decision is then made by the Supreme Court. Representative Tina Liebling said there are certain requirements to be met that make a fair map for redistricting. 

"We don't want to look like some other states where they draw maps that you know the gerrymander maps that have not really been Minnesota's the way we've done it here and maybe that's been because the courts have ended up drawing the maps," said DFL Representative Tina Liebling. 

While we are still a few months away from knowing what the map will look like, Senator Carla Nelson hopes to see Rochester represented. 

"A way that provides more power to really this growing dynamic city in our state. So I think the important thing is to have representation and to have as much representation in the senate or house as possible," said Republican Senator Carla Nelson. 

The Census data is needed to help redraw the lines of the districts. This can help who is represented and in what areas. 

"The bottom line is it needs to be fair, they need to be drawn, we need to have fair districts so we can have that representation," said DFL Representative Liz Boldon. 

Republican Senator David Senjem released a statement on redistricting. 

"Because of delays in data by the US Census Bureau and serious legislative efforts on redistricting will need to wait until census data becomes available, likely in September. As it is, with divided government it is very unlikely that the House and Senate will come to agreement by Feb. 2022.  At this point, the task will be transferred to the Minnesota Supreme Court which will complete the task. The last legislatively prescribed redistricting in Minnesota occurred in 1992." 

The current deadline for the new legislative districts in Minnesota is set for February 15, 2022. Iowa has a statutory deadline set for redistricting of September 15, 2021, but if the state needs more time they would be able to accommodate to allow for enough time to redistrict.

Copyright 2021 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company