DFL maps a lesson in partisan redistricting

Current map of Minnesota congressional districts.
commissions.leg.state.mn.us
Current map of Minnesota congressional districts.
Martin Intervenor's Congressional District Plan
mncourts.gov
Martin Intervenor’s Congressional District Plan (“DFL 1”)

Britton et al Congressional Plan State Map
mncourts.gov
Britton et al Congressional Plan State Map (“DFL 2”)

Hippert et al Congressional Plan State Map
mncourts.gov
Hippert et al Congressional Plan State Map (GOP plan)

MinnPost covered the Republican map after it came out in May. We’ll recap it a bit here, but let’s focus on the DFL proposals right now.


Newly partisan districts

Congressional redistricting map makers seek to draw districts that best help their party. Here are the three proposed redistricting maps and the vote breakdown from the 2008 presidential election from each. The first number is the percentage of voters who voted for President Obama, the second is the percentage who voted for John McCain.

District Current DFL 1 DFL 2 Republican
    (Martin) (Britton)  
1 51.0/46.6 51.7/45.9 52.1/45.5 50.7/46.8
2 48.3/49.8 45.5/52.8 44.9/53.0 49.0/49.0
3 52.4/46.0 55.3/43.0 50.1/48.3 49.7/48.7
4 64.4/33.6 61.9/36.2 63.5/34.5 63.7/34.3
5 74.1/23.8 73.4/24.5 72.2/25.8 73.8/24.1
6 44.6/53.3 42.8/55.0 48.4/49.6 44.7/53.3
7 47.4/50.1 47.6/50.0 46.9/50.6 44.9/52.5
8 53.1/44.5 53.9/43.6 53.1/44.5 55.9/41.8

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Marta Fahrenz on 11/30/2011 - 11:53 am.

    Would media voices please please please start paying attention to the real issues here? Commom Cause was fighting to allow citizen involvement in these decisions–which was effectively shut down yesterday: http://www.propublica.org/article/in-minn-redistricting-battle-powerful-players-clash-with-citizens-on-sideli/single

    The Star Tribune basically ran a news story on their opinion page last Sunday about redistricting–no analysis, just the process. It made no sense. As Larry Jacobs says in this article, “”Let’s face it, the insiders have all the cards, and the people on the outside have pea shooters.”

  2. Submitted by Arvonne Fraser on 11/30/2011 - 03:24 pm.

    Thanks for an excellent analysis and for great graphics so we can all tinker with this. Many of us in Minneapolis wait breathlessly for the court to decide this so we can get on with the changes in population that will result in new ward, park board and county commissioner lines. Thus, I hope MinnPost has someone ready for that analysis.

  3. Submitted by J Ledesma on 12/01/2011 - 03:05 am.

    Larry Jacobs said “Let’s face it, the insiders have all the cards, and the people on the outside have pea shooters.”

    Mixed metaphor much? Maybe he was just throwing darts in the dark and letting the chips fall where they may.

    That aside, it took guts for Martin to put out a plan that angered two incumbent congress members. The GOP should have done the same. Congress shouldn’t have the power to approval or disapprove of their own districts.

    And the 3rd district drawn by the Martin group looks very similar to the one that Jim Ramstad represented in the 1990s. That district made sense, and was competitive in he sense that it was friendly to either moderate Dems or Republicans.

  4. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/01/2011 - 07:42 am.

    You could also end around the whole problem by eliminating party primaries by moving to an open primary system. Take Louisiana for instance, Louisiana is not necessarily a model of good governance, its legislature may be among the least partisan — for example, a Democratic majority in its House with a Republican speaker.

  5. Submitted by Matt Brillhart on 12/01/2011 - 10:55 am.

    The most appropriate metaphor to the redistricting process would be this: Letting current legislators redraw the boundaries of their districts is exactly like letting the foxes guard the henhouse. Our legislators need to be removed from this process entirely, that much is painfully obvious. A court-appointed citizen commission should draw the lines and then the courts would have to approve the plans. Much more efficient than the current system of having the courts do it anyways, but 6-12 months late,
    after rejection the partisan plans.

    RE: (#4) I’m pretty sure MN does have an open primary system. I can go into the booth on primary day and vote for whichever candidates I choose, without being a “registered R, DFL, or I”. You can’t cross-pollinate though, voting for some R, some D, etc. There’s a good reason for that.

    Off-Topic, but relevant: The best option would be to eliminate the primary process entirely and move to Ranked-Choice elections statewide. Skipping the primary process would save taxpayers money and result in a more open and fair political process. There’s a chance it could get us out of this partisan gridlock as well. Ranked-choice is not without flaws, but the outcomes are certainly preferable to having a “winner” who received 43% of the vote, or 37% in Ventura’s case.

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