FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 2, 2021
For More Information, Contact:
North Dakota United
E-mail: [email protected]
BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota Voters First, a non-partisan, grassroots organization, says that the 2021 legislative redistricting process should be an open process with plenty of public input.
“North Dakota citizens strongly favor a redistricting process that is open and accessible to the citizens,” said Carol Sawicki, chair of North Dakota Voters First. “The recently introduced legislation, House Bill 1397, which sets up the procedures for North Dakota redistricting this cycle, should be amended to ensure that there is ample opportunity for public scrutiny and input before the final map is drawn.”
The Legislature’s 2021 redistricting plan is in House Bill 1397. It calls for a partisan committee of legislators to revise the state’s voting map. Unfortunately, the bill exempts all draft maps from state open records laws.
“Politicians should not be choosing their voters, and certainly not in secret,” Sawicki said. “Districts should consider local input and respect local communities so politicians can better represent them. Otherwise, redistricting acts like an incumbent re-election system.”
HB 1397 is set to be heard at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb.. 11 in the North Dakota House of Representatives’ Political Subdivisions Committee.
North Dakota Voters First aims to make sure that redistricting is fair in North Dakota. Fair redistricting is important, because it ensures that every voice and vote count. Fair districts matter, because legislators work on policy that affects everyone’s life – the economy, education, health care, social services, and much more.
“Ultimately, we’d like to see redistricting done by an independent panel,” Sawicki said. “This would ensure that partisan advantage is not the major factor in deciding district lines.”
Legislative redistricting happens every ten years after the U.S. census. Currently, North Dakota has 47 districts with each district having one senator and two representatives.
North Dakota Voters First is a non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to strengthening democracy. The group focuses on educating and engaging North Dakota citizens in effective actions to make elections and public policy more transparent, ethical, and accountable to the people.