Common Cause Sues to Include Minnesota’s Communities of Color in The Redistricting Process.
Latest Update: The judicial panel that selected Minnesota’s U.S. House, State Senate, and Minnesota House maps released its final order on February 15th, 2022. It can be reviewed here.
Common Cause Minnesota, along with OneMN.org, Voices for Racial Justice, and seven individual Minnesota voters, are parties in a lawsuit to ensure that people of color are represented during the state’s redistricting process. Our intervention petition and memorandum of law in support of the motion to intervene demanded that Minnesota’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities have their interests represented when new U.S. House and state legislative maps are drawn.
Since 1970, split partisan control of state government has resulted in a failure to approve maps by the state constitutional deadline. As a result, a court appointed special redistricting panel has determined how Minnesota’s districts are drawn. In anticipation of the courts again leading the redistricting process this year, several preemptive lawsuits have been filed to give Minnesota citizens a say in how voting districts are drawn.
Wattson v. Simons and Sachs v. Simons were both filed and consolidated in 2021 to request that the court appoint their redistricting panel ahead of the legislature’s likely failure to approve districts by the February 15, 2022 deadline and consider their plaintiff’s proposed redistricting criteria and maps. On June 30, 2021, the Minnesota Supreme Court filed an order appointing its special redistricting panel. The appointed judges are Hon. Louise D. Bjorkman, the presiding judge; Hon Diane B. Bratvold; Hon. Jay D. Carlson; Hon. Juanita C. Freeman; and Hon Jodi L. Williamson.
Common Cause Minnesota and co-petitioners filed to intervene and join the lawsuit to ensure that BIPOC communities have a seat at the table when the special redistricting panel draws the state’s maps. This intervention is necessary to give Minnesota’s diverse population a voice in the once in a decade redistricting process. BIPOC communities represent the state’s fastest growing population. In fact, approximately 85 percent of Minnesota’s population growth between 2010 and 2019 can be attributed to communities of color, and as a result they will be disproportionately impacted by new voting districts. Without this intervention, thousands of Minnesotans are at risk of their voices being silenced and their concerns being ignored.
Redistricting has a direct impact on the social, economic, and political status of Minnesota’s BIPOC communities. Fair representation for these communities is essential. Without it, partisan interests will dominate the redistricting process, and community input will be ignored.
Common Cause and its co-plaintiffs, known in court as the Corrie Plaintiffs, filed a statement of unresolved issues asking to prioritize communities of interest over strict population equality, proposed redistricting principles, and the maps below. See our presentation to the court on our maps, our presentation responding to other parties’ maps, and our short concluding rebuttal.