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Another suit asks Minnesota courts to oversee redistricting

ST. PAUL — A group of Minnesota Democratic voters filed a lawsuit Tuesday that seeks to have the courts take over the state’s redistricting process, predicting that the divided Legislature will be unable to agree on new political maps.

It’s at least the second such lawsuit filed in Minnesota in recent months. It was filed one day after the U.S. Census Bureau announced that Minnesota just barely avoided losing a congressional district despite population shifts. Minnesota edged New York for the last seat allotted by just 89 people.

The new lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County District Court by attorneys including Washington-based voting rights lawyer Marc Elias, who led the Democrats’ national legal effort to uphold President Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Similar lawsuits were filed Tuesday in Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

The earlier Minnesota lawsuit was filed in February in Carver County with a parallel action before the Minnesota Supreme Court on behalf of retired legislative redistricting expert Peter Wattson.

Courts have stepped into Minnesota’s map-drawing every decade since the 1980s for congressional districts and the 1970s for state legislative districts because of partisan stalemates. Given that Democrats control the Minnesota House and Republicans control the state Senate, the lawsuits argue that there’s no reason to believe this time will be any different.