In the Oct. 9 Jamestown Sun, Keith Norman does an excellent job of explaining the current North Dakota legislative redistricting process. Now the concerned citizens of Districts 12 and 29 must take a critical look at what is being proposed.
There seems to be excessive discussion about the effects on current legislators. Redistricting after each census should be about creating a district map that best and most efficiently represents the people for the next 10 years. It should have nothing to do with current legislators. They do not own those positions. The people do. After the new districts are formed, the people will decide who represents them.
The 2020 census counted 779,094 North Dakotans. With 47 districts that calculates to an average of 16,576 per district. It so happens Jamestown’s 2020 population is 15,849. All of the city of Jamestown can be in one district! Rather than being split between two districts as it is now, Jamestown can now all be District 12 with maybe a couple adjoining townships to balance the numbers with adjacent District 29. It will be much more efficient for administering elections and much easier for voters.
I guess that is too simple for the redistricting committee. In the current proposal Norman describes, a corner of Jamestown is cut out of District 12 and then nearly a dozen townships are added to make up the difference. This weird addition is two townships wide and extends north for 30 miles past the town of Courtenay. And to make it more strange, the population of the proposed new District 12 is four less than the population of just the city of Jamestown. The plan also strangely contorts District 29. This is the definition of gerrymandering.
The Legislature will meet in special session starting Nov. 8 to adopt a redistricting plan. This preposterously ridiculous plan can be changed at that time. The Jamestown City Council and mayor, the Stutsman County Commission and all interested voters in Districts 12 and 29 should get word to their legislators to stop the gerrymandering and adopt an easy and logical district plan.