Editorial: Take politics out of redistricting

Published 9:49 am Friday, May 25, 2012


The news that Minnesota’s two major political parties and several individual citizens have asked the state’s court system for $628,000 in legal fee reimbursements after a lengthy redistricting battle gives more credence to a very compelling argument: the current redistricting process is costly and not in the best interests of Minnesotans.

The fact of the matter is that neither Democrats nor Republicans have residents’ best interests first and foremost in their minds when they battle over district lines. What makes geographical or residential sense is secondary to the goal of picking up a few more seats or making political rivals more vulnerable.

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In the same vein, it’s become laughable in this day and age to expect the parties to agree on a redistricting map on their own. Whenever one side presents a map, the other side will self-righteously and hypocritically call it partisan politicking before promoting its own equally unbalanced solution.

In place of the current redistricting setup, a separate entity should create the map based on geographic and population makeup, analyzing real information instead of political advantages. Politicians should have no say in the map’s creation.

It’s probably a pipe dream to expect litigation to go away completely in redistricting, but it would be nice to try. It would cost the state government less and allow residents to make clearer sense of their representation.