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Minnesota Senate Candidates Pledge To Fight Gerrymandering

October 20th, 2020, 5:06pm by Zachariah Sippy

Six Minnesota State Senate candidates have pledged to fight against gerrymandering and unfair districting if elected, the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project announced today.

Next year, after the census, every state must redraw its congressional and legislative maps. Minnesota was spared partisan gerrymandering in 2011, due to divided government. Maps were eventually drawn by a judicial panel. However, it is possible that next year, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party will wield unified control over the redistricting process. That raises the threat of a partisan gerrymander.

Six DFL State Senate candidates, running in currently Republican districts, have promised to ensure that a gerrymander does not occur in their state. The candidates are Dr. Aleta Borrud (MN-SD-26), Dr. Aric Putnam (MN-SD-14), Jon Olson (MN-SD-20), Lindsey Port (MN-SD-56), Mayor Rita Albrecht (MN-SD-5), and Sara Flick (MN-SD-25). The group is featured in the video above by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.

All six candidates pledged to work towards:

  • independent commissions,  
  • adherence to concrete measures of partisan fairness,  
  • data transparency measures (ex. the immediate release of draft plans), 
  • and the scoring of legislative draft plans by nonpartisan organizations.

Jon Olson, candidate for Senate District 20, stated that “if I get elected, one of the first things I want to fight for is the establishment of a nonpartisan citizen redistricting panel.” Dr. Aric Putnam, candidate for Senate District 14 said, “we cannot allow politicians to pick their voters,” and emphasized the importance of communities of interest “shap[ing] our legislative and congressional districts so that [districts] reflect the needs that are actually on the ground.”

Earlier this year, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and Election Consortium launched its “Redistricting Moneyball 2020” model. The model identifies races where voters have the most leverage to prevent partisan gerrymandering in 2021. Currently, it finds that there is a 43% chance of bipartisan control of the state government in Minnesota– close to a coin toss.

In the absence of bipartisan control, one party could draw district maps next year without any input from the other party. That is why a Democratic pledge not to gerrymander is so significant.

The Princeton Gerrymandering Project does not endorse particular candidates or parties, but it does highlight this commitment to a fair redistricting process in Minnesota in 2021.

Tags: 2020 Election · Moneyball · Redistricting

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