Redistricting & Nonprofits

What is Redistricting?

Every state and its municipalities are required by the U.S. Constitution to redraw their districts every 10 years based on the results of the U.S. Census to achieve “one person one vote.” Redistricting is about equity, ensuring the fair political representation and distribution of resources.

Redistricting & Nonprofits
We are all stronger when our democracy is strong. Nonprofits have a critical role in helping communities use their voice and power in civic participation - especially communities that have been historically disenfranchised. Our role as nonprofits is to work for transparency and a solution that serves all people, not partisan preferences. 

MCN is an active member of Our Maps MN campaign and will be playing a role in organizing and mobilizing. MCN will be engaging stakeholders across the state to talk about redistricting and why it matters, map BIPOC and other communities of interest, and advocate that community maps influence the legislative and legal process. 

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10.13.21 Update: Redistricting Lawsuits & 2021 Census Data Released

Redistricting Lawsuit Updates
Redistricting lawsuits in Minnesota are common and have been since the 1970s. Since the 1970s, the legislature has failed to reach an agreement on newly drawn districts and has relied on the courts to finalize maps. Various groups have filed lawsuits against the state in anticipation of the legislature not agreeing on new boundaries.

Several nonprofits have either filed or joined a lawsuit. You can check out the press releases here:

If you would like to stay up to date on the redistricting lawsuits, you can sign up for updates through the MN Courts website.

Check out local news articles on redistricting lawsuits:

  • “Redistricting is a plodding, legalistic process. It’s also vitally important to Minnesota’s communities of color.” – Sahan Journal
  • “Political mapmaking heads to familiar spot: Minnesota’s courts” – MPR News  
  • “’The first of many’: Democratic redistricting group files preemptive lawsuit in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana” – Minnesota Reformer
  • “New census data will shake up Minnesota politics” – MPR News

Census Data Released
The Census Bureau has released the redistricting data from 2020 Census! The data shows population growth over the past decade. The data is in a complex data format and the Census Bureau plans to release less complicated formats in the near future. The data will be used to draw new districts at the local, state, and federal level.

Key findings:

  • Minnesota’s official 2020 population is 5,706,494. Between the estimates and the 2010 Census, this growth was more than expected.
  • The seven county metro area grew 11% -- more than 300,000 people. Suburban counties near the metro grew by 9% and the rest of the state grew a little over 2.5%.
  • Minnesotans of color population increased. About 76% of Minnesotans identify as white, down from 83% just 10 years ago.
  • It is likely that all of the districts will need to be redrawn at the federal level. The 1st, 7th, and 8th districts will need to have their borders adjusted as their current districts have too few people. The other five districts will also need to adjust their borders because they have too many residents in the districts.
  • Because the population growth has mostly been in the metro area, redistricting will likely lead to fewer rural districts at the state level.

If you want to check out more information on the Census data, check out this article by Sahan Journal.




Timeline

MN House Research released two timelines for the redistricting process. The first, default statutory procedure, is a timeline without any court involvement. The second timeline is an alternative redistricting scenario with court involvement. Minnesota has relied on the courts to finalize maps since the 1970s. It is possible that the legislature could pass a redistricting plan without it going to the courts.

Court Involvement: Under this scenario, the legislature attempts to draw and enact legislative and congressional redistricting plans, but the plans either fail to be approved by the legislature, or are vetoed by the governor. This scenario largely reflects the procedure that played out in the 2010 and 2000 redistricting cycles. For the 2020 cycle, the Minnesota Supreme Court could decide to change the court process compared to that outlined here.


 Date  Event 
 April 1, 2020  Official date of the 2020 U.S. Census.
 December 31, 2020* Initial statewide population results are released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

With release of the initial 2020 results, ideal populations for congressional and legislative districts can be calculated and compared with current “official” district populations, which are still based on the 2010 Census.
 January 2021* Upon convening of new legislature, appropriate committees on redistricting are established to begin work drawing new maps.

Lawsuit filed alleging that the current districts (still based on 2010 Census results) are unconstitutional, because they fail to meet the new ideal population standard for equal districts.

Minnesota Supreme Court grants requests of parties in lawsuit to establish a special redistricting panel to hear the case, but the court stays further action to create a panel, deferring to the legislative process.

April 1, 2021* Comprehensive block-level Census totals are released to the state. This is the data that contains the level of detail necessary for new districts and maps to be created.
 Late 2021 Legislative Session Legislature draws and debates new district maps, but plans are not enacted.
 June 2021* Noting that the 2021 Legislative Session has adjourned without enacting a redistricting plan, the court lifts the stay on establishment of a special redistricting panel and appoints its members.
 Summer / Fall 2021 Special redistricting panel begins work; public hearings inform creation of new maps. Order declaring principles to be used in drawing maps is issued by the panel. 
 February 15, 2022 Deadline for enactment of new districts. New maps have not been enacted and signed by the Governor. Special redistricting panel issues final order declaring existing legislative and congressional districts unconstitutional. The order includes maps and new districts.
 August 9, 2022   

State Primary and State General Elections.

 November 8, 2022 Candidates are elected based on the newly-drawn districts.


Note: Dates marked with an * are approximate for the 2020 cycle


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