OP – ED
Update on legislative districting in N.D.
To the Editor,
Summer weather has started here in North Dakota, and so has the 2021 legislative districting process. It will soon be a hot topic.
As you know, there’s a lot of interest in fair elections these days, and North Dakota Voters First aims to keep you informed regarding the districting process. With your help, we can prevent gerrymandering – the harmful practice of drawing unfair legislative lines that protect incumbents and political parties.
Every 10 years, the U.S. Census reveals changes in population growth and movement that require new district maps so that each district has approximately the same number of people. During the last districting process in 2011, that number was determined to be 13,920 for each of the respective 47 districts in our state. North Dakota’s population has increased by over 100,000 during the last 10 years, so that number will certainly be different this districting cycle.
By law, a committee of legislators will develop a new map of legislative districts in meetings this summer and fall. The state Constitution says that there can be a maximum of 54 districts and a minimum of 40. Ultimately, the approved new map will be used in the 2022 through 2030 elections.
The first meeting of the legislative districting committee will take place on Thursday, Aug. 26 in Bismarck. The committee is composed of 14 Republicans and 2 Democrats. And, unfortunately, there are some diversity issues with this panel. For these reasons and more, many states have created independent commissions with diverse, unbiased, representative citizen members for legislative districting that would ultimately be fairer to voters. More information on the districting committee can be found online at legis.nd.gov.
Why is this so important? Legislators make decisions that affect our everyday lives – the economy, education, energy, health care, social services, and many others. Having fair legislative districts that respect communities of interest and unique boundaries make for better representation and public policy.
You can attend the 2021 districting meetings in person or online. Be sure to watch, provide public comment, call, and write to committee members. Also, be sure to follow North Dakota Voters First on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be tracking the 2021 legislative districting process very closely and posting updates along the way. Together, we can help prevent gerrymandering in North Dakota.
North Dakota Voters First
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Regan Visit to ND
Submitted by Lisa DeVille
On Thursday, June 3, 2021 Lisa DeVille had the pleasure of meeting with EPA Administrator Regan along with other Dakota Resource Council members and Fort Berthold POWER. They talked to the Administrator about the need to cut methane emissions from oil and gas, the need for EPA to protect tribal communities like hers, the need to listen to individual allottees on Fort Berthold, the need for data by studies, research, and analysis on Ft. Berthold to create policy, regulations, environmental justice, and the need to protect NEPA to name a few. Thank you, Administrator Regan for coming to ND and listening to our concerns!
Here are the other attendees.
- Badlands Conservation Alliance – Liz Loos, E.D. Regional Haze, EPA should be a backstop for/keep an eye on the state regulators
- DRC affiliate, C.L.E.A.N. Paul. Clean electricity, not from lignite. Financial penalty for dirty electricity, have a vintage (place of origin) for all electricity
- ND Wildlife Federation – John Bradley. E.D., a local chapter of the National Wildlife Federation – Waters of the US, clean water and potholes for humans, animals, the environment in general, ensure equity and justice as we transition to new power sources.
- DRC Ag Committee – Madeline Luke, water pollution from CAFOs, better waste management from CAFOS, not dumping animal waste in to Devil’s Lake.
Note: Lisa DeVille had mentioned that one of our origin stories are from Devils Lake area.
- Sen. Tim Mathern – hold the governor and government to account. Make sure to pressure Burgum to live up to his carbon reduction promise. Don’t be afraid of state lawsuits. Brought up a ND bill that ignores federal oversite.
- DRC affiliate, Fort Berthold POWER; Walter DeVille Sr. member and allottee owner, and Delvin Rabbithead Sr. President, POWER also mentioned concerns on Ft. Berthold.