The state and city redistricting processes have concluded, and thousands of Minneapolis residents will be in new legislative districts for the upcoming Aug. 9 primary and Nov. 8 general elections.
At the state level, a panel of five judges released a court-ordered final map of legislative districts on Feb. 15. The Minneapolis Charter Commission approved new city ward and park district boundaries on March 2.
The city council is scheduled to approve the precinct boundaries before the March 29 deadline. Once approved, those same precincts will be used for all elections until the next redistricting that will follow the 2030 census.
Because the state legislature was unable to agree on new boundaries for state and federal legislative districts by the required date of Feb. 15, that responsibility fell to the five judges appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, whose map includes new boundaries for all state and federal legislative districts in the state.
The state and city were both required to redraw the boundaries of its voting districts to reflect population changes based on the results of the 2020 census, with each district having roughly the same number of people. According to the census, Minnesota’s total population was 5,706,494 and making “ideal population” of the Senate districts 85,172, and 42,586, for the House districts. Because population growth was not uniform across the state, the boundaries of most legislative districts had to change.
In Minneapolis, the population was 429,954, making the ideal number of people for each ward 33,073. The ideal number for each of the six park districts is 71,659. The commission determined that an acceptable range, at 5% above or below those numbers was 31,420 to 34,727 per ward and 68,077 to 75,241 per park district.
The panel of judges and the charter commission faced similar challenges. The judges’ order stated, “We start with the existing districts, changing them as necessary to remedy the constitutional defect by applying politically neutral redistricting principles… When one district changes, so must its neighbors – a cascading effect that means even a district drawn 10 years ago that remains within appropriate population deviation will need to change along with the rest of the state.”
While the numbers and general areas for all the Minneapolis senate districts (59, 60, 61, 62, and 63) remained the same, all the borders were shifted to accommodate changes in population. Some of the most significant changes occurred in southern districts as adjustments were required to meet growing areas of population in the city and nearby suburbs. Senate District 63, for example, moved north and west. The the 63B side will no longer includes any of Richfield or the airport and now includes South Minneapolis as far west as Xerxes. District 63A shifted north to I-94 and now will include all of the Seward neighborhood.
Since the new boundaries and maps have been approved, most Minneapolis legislators have announced they will be running for reelection, including the Longfellow-Nokomis area legislators, Senator Omar Fetah in District 62, as well as Representatives Hodan Hassan in 62A, Aisha Gomez in 62B and Emma Greenman in 63B. Senator Torres-Ray (63) and Representative Jim Davnie (63A) announced that they would not be running for reelection well before the maps were released.
When announcing her decision to run for reelection Representative Greenman said, “I will miss representing eastern Richfield folks, but am happy to continue representing my longtime home of South Minneapolis, and new constituents in Diamond Lake, Page, Kenny, Windom, Tangletown and Armatage.”
The only active candidate for the Senate District 63 appears to be Zaynab Mohamed. Devon Kristiansen registered a campaign committee in February but since suspended the campaign.
The House of Representative 63A seat being vacated by Davnie, includes the neighborhoods of Seward, Cooper, Howe, Longfellow, Hiawatha, Standish, Cooper and a small portion of Prospect Park near East River Road. It has generated the most candidates.
So far, four candidates have entered the 63A race. Kevin MacDonald, Samantha Sencer-Mura and Yusra Arab all registered as DFLers, and are actively campaigning. Fabian Bean recently withdrew saying he was supporting Sencer-Mura.
The Senate District 63 Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) convention where party endorsements will be considered for the district’s house and senate seats is scheduled for Saturday, April 9 (for more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org). The Senate District 63 Republican Party Convention was held on March 19, and the group elected delegates the Congressional District 5 (CD5), and state conventions, but did not endorse any state house or senate candidates.
All candidates running this year for state senator, state representative, judicial, statewide, or federal offices, have until between May 17 and 31 to file for office, so there will likely be more candidates stepping forward in the weeks ahead.
CITY WARD CHANGES
There will be not a city election this year. Still the Charter Commission had to approve new ward and park district boundaries this year, and the city council will set the voting precincts boundaries to be used in this year’s election and all elections until the next redistricting that will follow the 2030 census. The next city election will be in 2023 when only the 13 city council seats, and charter amendments, if any, will be on the ballot.
Redistricting is important to people, the commission’s chair, Barry Clegg said, because “it is going to effect who the neighborhoods council member is, whether their neighborhood will be split and who they will be in the same ward with for the next 10 years.”
One of the commissions goals was to work to keep communities of interest, like neighborhoods, in the same ward. Racial and language minorities, in particular and in accord with the Voting Rights Act, were given careful consideration. According to Clegg, the fifth ward is the only ward with a majority of Black voters. Ward, 6, 8 and 9 have a majority of nonwhite voters.
Because of shifts in population, wards 1, 6, 8, 9, and 11 had to get larger, to include more people, while wards 2 and 3 had to get smaller geographically to reduce population.
To reduce ward 2’s population, the southernmost neighborhoods of Cooper and Longfellow were removed from ward 2 and placed in wards 12 and 9, respectively. Its northern border is now at the Midtown Greenway. A portion of Marcy Holmes east of I-35W was also moved into ward 2 making it a more university-centered ward.
Ward 9 needed to grow both because it lost population and because a portion of Central moved to ward 8. So, it has been extended east to include all of Longfellow and much of East Lake Street past Minnehaha. A small portion of Howe was also added to ward 9.
Ward 11 needed to grow to be within 5% of the target population, so portions of Keewaydin and Ericsson were moved from ward 12 into ward 11.
Ward 12 was already within the 5% target, but in order to shrink ward 2 and maintain the demographics of ward 9, the Cooper neighborhood was removed from ward 2 and placed in ward 12. This resulted in ward 12 needing to shrink, which was accomplished by moving portions of Keewaydin and Ericsson into ward 11. There was also a change made at the last meeting of the commission to move all of the Hiawatha into ward 12.
The Park Districts of 3 and 5 cover the Longfellow-Nokomis areas and were changed by the commission. The Central, Powderhorn and Whittier neighborhoods were moved into district 3. District 5 lost population and needed to grow to be within 5% of the target and so Cooper and Longfellow neighborhoods were moved into it.
The Hennepin County and Minneapolis School Boards will adopt their redistricting plans in April.
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