What redistricting means for election day

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - When lawmakers finish redrawing the legislative districts, every single district will look different. And that means before the next election, many voters will have to find their new polling places and maybe new candidates.

Two blocks of houses. They’re in the same neighborhood, and use the same street and fire hydrant.

The difference? An imaginary legislative line saying one side has a new polling place, and that’s due to redistricting.

“As soon as the legislature makes its decision hopefully in early November, a lot of things fall into place right after that. A lot of people are going to be busy in all 53 counties and our office,” said Secretary of State Al Jaeger, R-North Dakota.

The new legislative districts will have around 16,500 people each, and that’s more than 2,000 more people per district since the last lines were drawn.

“I see a lot of apartment buildings. The three, four, five story buildings going up. With increase in just building costs, you can build higher density at cheaper cost per door than you can a home anymore,” said Sen. Brad Bekkedahl, R-Williston.

While lawmakers think about where the lines will go, statewide leaders are preparing to reorganize the state’s elections.

After lawmakers create the new district lines, counties have until December 31st to create more than 400 precincts for polling places.

“We have to make sure that the voters are placed into the right precincts for voting purposes, ballot preparation, all of that starts in full gear. Even though we might not think that the election is until next year, in our time it’s really in a matter of weeks,” said Secretary of State Al Jaeger, R-North Dakota.

After that December deadline, parties hold another round of meetings to determine who their candidates will be based on the new lines.

North Dakota has 47 legislative districts. The state constitution allows for up to 54, but most lawmakers on the redistricting committee was to keep it to 47.

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