Minnesota earned middling grade nationally for transparent and inclusive process
St. PAUL, MN — Today, Common Cause, the leading anti-gerrymandering group, published a report grading the redistricting process in all 50 states from the view of the community. The comprehensive report evaluates public access, outreach, and education in each state based on an analysis of more than 120 detailed surveys and more than 60 interviews.
Minnesota earned a C+. The report found that while Minnesota’s hyperpartisanship created a stalemate in mapmaking at the legislative level, the judiciary was able to step in and create maps that reflected some community input. However, despite said input, the state’s Supreme Court has a “least change” redistricting preference, making it hard to redraw maps from their previous gerrymanders or reflective of Minnesota’s growing demographics.
“After a close look at all 50 states, this report shows more community voices produce better maps,” said Dan Vicuña, Common Cause national redistricting director. “When everyone can meaningfully participate and have their input reflected in the final maps, that’s how we achieve fair elections voters can trust. We found voting districts that prioritize community interests are the gateway to elections that lead to strong schools, a fair economy, and affordable healthcare.”
Common Cause graded each state for its state level redistricting. Some states received a second grade for their local redistricting process in cases where advocates provided data. Each interview and survey asked participants about the accessibility of the process, the role of community groups, the organizing landscape, and the use of communities of interest criteria.
“Redistricting is only successful when people have influence over their voting districts,” said Annastacia Belladonna-Carerra, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota. “However, too many leaders in Minnesota have prioritized their own interests over the will of the people, which is reflected in our grade. Additionally, the court’s “least change” philosophy has stifled the creation of maps that best showcase Minnesota’s growing power in diversity. The good news? There is a solution to this ‘status quo’ that doesn’t see all Minnesotans and stifles an equitable democracy: an independent citizen redistricting commission — and we intend on bringing one to Minnesota voters.”
Common Cause found the most powerful reform is independent, citizen-led commissions where voters—rather than elected officials—administer the process and hold the power of the pen to draw maps. Independent commissioners were found to be more interested in fair representation and community input— rather than electability or party control.
The report was authored by Common Cause, Fair Count, State Voices, and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The report was published in collaboration with the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting and Grassroots Engagement (CHARGE), which includes Common Cause, Fair Count, League of Women Voters, Mia Familia Vota, NAACP, NCAI, State Voices, APIAVote, and the Center for Popular Democracy.
To view the report online, click here.