Ordinary citizens and city officials have the opportunity to provide input on one of the most important decisions this decade – the drawing of legislative and congressional districts.  The decision will determine how your community is represented at the legislature and in Congress.

In the initial maps proposed by the legislature, several cities were split into two or more legislative districts.  Other cities were placed in long narrow districts shared by very different communities located hours away.  The proposed congressional maps also split the state into districts that ran from the western boundary to the eastern boundary.

Although the legislature still could pass another map in January, it would still need approval from the governor.   Thus, the maps being created by the Judicial Panel on Redistricting are likely to be the final maps.  Past judicial panels have relied on oral and written testimony from cities and citizens.  You can help your community by providing written comments before 5:00 PM on October 21, 2011.

Start by looking at the initial legislative maps here and congressional maps here.  The interactive map in the bottom right hand corner will identify which proposed district your city would be located in.  The pull down maps provide detail about the individual districts.

Redistricting is not simply plugging numbers into a computer program.  Written comments should include what cities, towns, and other communities of interest make sense to group together and where lines should be drawn if a city must be split.

E-mail statements to StateRedistrictingPanel@courts.state.mn.us or send one original and one copy of the statement via U.S. mail to: Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel, c/o Bridget Gernander, Clerk of Appellate Courts, 305 Minnesota Judicial Center, 25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St Paul, MN 55155.