Big population gains in North Dakota made for big changes to the state’s legislative map during the 2021 redistricting process. This is a big deal because the new map will be used for the 2022 through 2030 legislative elections in our state.
Political observers will notice major changes to Districts 4, 8, 9, 10, 19, 23, 26, 27, and 39 compared to maps approved in 2001 and 2011. Districts 4 and 9 have been subdivided for the House into “A” and “B” districts. All these changes affect more than 30 current legislators.
To be clear, Districts 10, 23 and 26 are completely new districts and their former population has been absorbed by neighboring districts. And the subdivision of two House districts containing Native American reservations - 4 and 9 - make North Dakota compliant with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Since five even-numbered districts now have 25 percent or more new voters, they will have to campaign for election in 2022. These districts include 8, 20, 28, 36, and 44. Only odd-numbered districts are supposed to be up for election in 2022, so that’s why we’re pointing this out. Additionally, there may be House races in District 4 due to the subdivision.
During the 2021 redistricting process, we were disappointed to see the overuse of incumbent protection, scheduled times for public comment not being adhered to, agendas not being posted in a timely fashion and draft maps not being posted prior to most meetings. This was unfortunate. That’s why an independent redistricting commission would be beneficial in the future instead of the current system where politicians pick their voters.
We’ll continue to keep North Dakotans updated on further voting rights issues in our state.