Loading...

Montana Redistricting Commission Deadlocks Over Maps

October 22, 2021 by Dan McCue
One of two Congressional District maps under consideration in Montana.

They only had to divide the state into two congressional districts, but in the end, members of the state’s bipartisan Districting and Apportionment Commission simply couldn’t agree on which of two proposed maps was better so they advanced two.

They’ll now meet on Saturday, Oct. 30 to see if they can put the matter to rest. If they can’t, the commission’s nonpartisan chair, attorney Maylinn Smith, says she is ready to cast the tie-breaking vote.

By all accounts, the redistricting process in Montana has gone fairly well.

In fact on Friday, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee commended all involved.

“The proposals mark a critical moment in Montana’s redistricting process,” said Committee President Kelly Burton in a written statement. 

“The two maps that are on the path toward becoming a final congressional map are the product of a transparent public engagement process that spanned the entire state. The Commissioners continue to seek cooperation and collaboration to ensure a fair map is created through this transparent process,” Burton said.

The second of two Congressional District maps under consideration in Montana.

To most outside of Montana, the maps look very similar. Both cut the state into an east district and a west district. Kind of like the candy commercial in which there’s a left Twix and a right Twix.

But the Republicans prefer the map that would include the state’s Lewis and Clark County in the eastern district. Democrats say a map configured that way would unduly favor Republicans in future elections.

The Democrats, meanwhile, want Lewis and Clark County to remain in the western district, but would place the city of Kalispell, the so-called “gateway” to the vast Glacier National Park, into the eastern district.

This, Republicans say, would give Democrats the electoral advantage in the future.

At a commission meeting on Thursday, Smith, who was appointed to the panel by the state’s Supreme Court, said, “I think both of these maps have some really good concessions on both sides, and I would be interested in getting public comment on both of these maps.”

The good news is the commission did make progress on Thursday. When its meeting started, there were still nine proposed maps to choose from.

Critics of the four maps previously proposed by the Republicans unnecessarily split counties and failed to divide the state population evenly between districts.

The five maps initially proposed by the Democrats were equally problematic because of how they handled Montana’s seven Native American reservations.

Some placed all the reservations in one district. Others split them. But no single map appeared to ensure that both districts had strong, franchised Native American populations.

The website FiveThirtyEight said in analysis this week that the tweaking of the western district will ultimately determine how competitive it is. It said the eastern district would be “ruby-red” no matter which map is ultimately chosen.

Interestingly enough, this is the first time since 1993 that Montana has had more than one congressional district.

The commission has until Nov. 14 to make a final decision.

Whatever happens, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee said in a statement that it “remains committed to a redistricting process that will culminate in fair maps which ensure Montanans from all walks of life can elect leaders of their choosing.”

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

In The States

December 6, 2021
by Dan McCue
Justice Department Sues Texas Over Redistricting Plan

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department sued Texas on Monday over the state’s new redistricting plan, alleging it violated Section 2... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department sued Texas on Monday over the state’s new redistricting plan, alleging it violated Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting the Latino vote. “The attorney general has made clear that the Justice Department will not stand idly by... Read More

December 3, 2021
by Reece Nations
Texas Law Prohibiting Critical Race Theory in Public Schools Goes Into Effect

SAN ANTONIO — A Texas law restricting the teaching of critical race theory principles in public schools went into effect... Read More

SAN ANTONIO — A Texas law restricting the teaching of critical race theory principles in public schools went into effect on Thursday after being enacted by Gov. Greg Abbott in June. The new law compels public school teachers to not discuss issues of controversy that encompass... Read More

EPA Head Tours Embattled Communities, Says Help On the Way

RESERVE, La. (AP) — Michael Coleman's house is the last one standing on his tiny street, squeezed between a sprawling... Read More

RESERVE, La. (AP) — Michael Coleman's house is the last one standing on his tiny street, squeezed between a sprawling oil refinery whose sounds and smells keep him up at night and a massive grain elevator that covers his pickup in dust and, he says, exacerbates... Read More

December 2, 2021
by Reece Nations
Gov. Hochul Aims to Hold Office Amid Primary Challengers

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul took over for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August, and her performance... Read More

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul took over for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo in August, and her performance so far has strengthened her case for reelection with the state’s voters. Polling data suggests New Yorkers are generally supportive of her early work as governor,... Read More

December 2, 2021
by Reece Nations
Stacey Abrams Announces Georgia Gubernatorial Campaign

ATLANTA — Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams announced on Wednesday she will again run for governor in 2022. Abrams previously sought... Read More

ATLANTA — Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams announced on Wednesday she will again run for governor in 2022. Abrams previously sought to become Georgia’s first Black female governor in 2018 when she lost to current Gov. Brian Kemp. That election came down to the wire but Abrams... Read More

Student Kills 3, Wounds 8 at Oxford High School in Michigan

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a... Read More

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old sophomore opened fire at his Michigan high school, killing three students, including a 16-year-old boy who died in a deputy’s patrol car on the way to a hospital, authorities said. Eight other people were wounded, some critically, including a... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version