Yesterday, a panel of national and local redistricting experts discussed the history and harmful consequences of prison-based gerrymandering in Minnesota. The experts described how prison gerrymandering occurs and how the practice diminishes the electoral and political power of Minnesotans of color, and other disenfranchised Minnesotans. The panel and also offered solutions for how Minnesotans can address this issue, including participating in the current redistricting cycle.
In case you missed today’s media briefing, you can find the video link to the recording here.
Select quotes from the briefing, in order of speakers, are below.
Regarding the importance of Minnesotans of color in our democracy:
“We are working to build a government accountable to every Minnesotan where everyone’s vote is counted. Prison gerrymandering compounds the political disempowerment many Minnesotan Native and other communities of color already face due to partisan and racial gerrymandering. We will continue working alongside communities to ensure Native, communities of color, and other disenfranchised groups have equal say and representation in our democracy,” said Annastacia Belladona-Carrera, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota.
Regarding the importance of equal representation in government:
“Everyone deserves to be fairly represented in our democracy. Counting people in prisons results in unequal representation that artificially inflates populations of districts with prisons and encourages mass incarceration. Our communities deserve fair redistricting so we don’t continue to dilute the voice of our Minnesotan Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) family, friends, and neighbors,” said Keshia Morris Desir, census and mass incarceration project manager at Common Cause.