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SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Slay the Dragon Logo

SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Montana

Process

Independent Redistricting Commission

Montana's state legislative districts are drawn by an independent redistricting commission. Currently, Montana has only one at-large congressional district, so there has not been any need for congressional redistricting. The Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission is composed of five members; the majority and minority leaders of the state Senate and House each appoint one member, and these four members collectively appoint the fifth, who serves as the chairperson. You can see the 2020 commissioners here.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Montana’s state constitution (Art. V § 14) requires that state legislative districts be compact and contiguous. A Montana state statute (Code §5-1-115) also requires legislative and congressional districts to preserve political subdivisions, prohibits the consideration of partisan data, and forbids the favoring or disfavoring of a party or candidate for office. Finally, the Commission adopted additional guidelines in 2010 that protect communities of interest.

Public Input

Per Montana state statute (Code §5-1-108), the Commission must hold at least one public hearing before submitting proposed plans to the Legislature. During the last redistricting cycle, that required hearing took place on December 19, 2012. Additionally, before a proposed plan was introduced, the Commission held 14 hearings across the state. You can view the Commission’s scheduled hearings for this cycle and submit written comments on its website.

Issues

Pitfalls

One potential concern is the underrepresentation of native populations. In 2011, Joe Lamson, a member of the Districting and Apportionment Commission, presented information showing that roughly 9,000 Native Americans were not counted in the U.S. Census. If such an undercount were to happen again, a possible remedy would be to petition the results of the census. Undercounts of vulnerable communities inherently lead to reductions in representation, as districts are based on the population data provided by the Census.

Congressional Seats

Based upon a recent estimate of congressional seat changes following the 2020 census, Minnesota is estimated to gain one congressional seat. If this estimation is correct, Montana's congressional districts will be drawn by its independent commission.

Census Delays

  • State legislative redistricting plan deadline: first regular session after appointment of commission, which is 2023 (Art. V § 14)
  • Congressional redistricting plan deadline: 90 days after the census (Art. V § 14)
    • Only in the case that Montana gets a second congressional district

The Census Bureau may delay sending population data to states until as late as July 31, 2021. As Montana has a late deadline for state legislative redistricting and a congressional redistricting deadline that automatically adjusts to the receipt of census data, the data delay should have little to no impact.

History

In the 2011 redistricting cycle, plaintiffs brought a challenge in state court (Willems v. Montana) over the practice of assigning holdover senators, or senators with two years left in their term, to new districts, depriving those constituents of an opportunity to elect a new senator. The Montana Supreme Court rejected the challenge to holdover districts, finding some staggered seats to be necessary.

Actions

Participate in the Commission’s public input process.

  • Obtain Montana redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the commission starts collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Contacts

Princeton Gerrymandering Project Data provided by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project

State Info

State Boundaries: Drawn by independent redistricting commission
Legislative Control: Republican
Governor's Political Party: Democratic
Last Updated: Oct 13 2020