In one short week the South Dakota Legislature will take action on an issue that should get everyone’s attention. State lawmakers will decide where your legislative district will be – in which races you will be permitted to cast a ballot.
This process, called ‘redistricting,’ comes along only every 10 years – when electoral district boundaries are drawn to reflect population changes recorded by the latest census numbers. It’s an involved process, and it’s intended to ensure that your representation in the state legislature truly mirrors the state’s demographic trends. But in reality, it’s a process that often gets hijacked by the interests of narrow, majority partisans who want to stay in power.
The voting district map that is currently up for final approval has big problems. Among them is split communities of interest - meaning that the map carves up neighborhoods and/or towns that have been represented together because of their geography, and the social and economic interests they have in common. Sometimes this homogeny is sacrificed during the redistricting process to make districts easier for the majority party to win.
The decision made next week in Pierre about our legislative districts will dictate our state’s priorities for years to come. This issue is too important to sit on the sidelines. Please take action today.
We only get one chance over the next ten years to get this right. Tell your legislator to keep our communities strong and our communities of interest intact when voting on the new legislative districts this Monday, October 24th, 2011.