Hubbard County Board considering public’s role in redistricting
Hubbard County Administrator Cadwell asked the board if they want to meet the minimum requirements for public notice or encourage public engagement. A decision can be made later this year, he said.
Hubbard County Administrator Jeff Cadwell asked the county board how they want to solicit public input about redistricting plans.
At their Oct. 12 meeting, he reminded county commissioners that congressional, statewide and municipal districts must be completed before the county board can do its work.
“Our current districts will not work, starting next year. You can see they were relatively close to not working in 2010, the variance being -9.35 and 7.27 percent” in Districts 2 and 3, respectively, he said. “Those same districts, with the change in population, are out of alignment with a very minimal requirement of 10 percent.”
Char Christenson is commissioner for District 2, which currently includes Arago Township and Todd Township (except for Section 36) and Precinct 1 of Park Rapids. Tom Krueger represents District 3, which is currently Badoura, Crow Wing Lake, Hubbard, Straight River and White Oak townships and Precinct 2 of Park Rapids.
Based on 2020 U.S. Census data, the target population for each of the five districts is 4,269.
The current populations are as follows, with the percentage of deviation from the average of 4,269:
District 1 (David De La Hunt) – 4,150 (-2.79%)
District 2 (Christenson) – 3,802 (-10.94)
District 3 (Krueger) – 4,813 (12.74)
District 4 (Dan Stacey) – 4,091 (-4.17)
District 5 (Ted Van Kempen) – 4,488 (5.13)
“One responsibility that you would have would be to review any and all plans submitted that meet the criteria of regular and compact and within that 10 percent margin,” Cadwell said.
Any solution that you would propose or approve that is between a 5 and 10 percent variance can be challenged by voters, he added.
Cadwell said there is modeling software, at a $4,500 cost, that works with the county’s GIS system. “We could put it on the website and let the public play with it,” he said.
Cadwell asked the board if they want to meet the minimum requirements for public notice or encourage public engagement. A decision can be made later this year, he said.
A commissioner will need to run for reelection if, through redistricting, the district had a population change greater than 5 percent of the average district size. This shift in boundaries “constitutes a significant alteration,” according to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s “2021 Redistricting Guide.”
A commissioner must reside within their district; however, if one’s residence is shifted into another commissioner’s district through the redrawn boundaries, he or she may serve until the end of the term.
Court panel joins state effort
A court-appointed redistricting panel has begun holding a series of public hearings to gather advice on redrawing political boundaries to reflect 2020 census data.
The first of 10 scheduled hearings was Monday, Oct. 11, at Woodbury City Hall. The panel is also accepting written testimony.
“This participation is truly democracy in action,” said Appeals Court Judge Louise Bjorkman, the presiding judge of the redistricting panel.
The panel of five judges will establish new redistricting plans if the Legislature and governor cannot reach agreement by the statutory deadline of Feb. 15, 2022. The courts have ended up drawing maps for several decades in Minnesota.
Minnesota House and Senate redistricting committees have been holding their own separate hearings to gather public input.
Sept. 30 – Census data released
Feb. 15, 2022 – Congressional and legislative plans completed
March 29 – Precinct and city redistricting deadline
April 26 – County commissioner redistricting deadline
May 17 – Filings open for state/county elections