Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission discusses congressional maps

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 7:35 PM CDT
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MONTANA - Montana was one of the winners in last year’s census, being awarded a second Congressional seat.

Now comes the time to evenly divide the population of the state for representation.

With Census data in hand, commissioners met virtually to continue the process of figuring out how to divide the state into two even congressional house districts, noting that the old boundaries would not work with today’s population.

“This puts it pretty starkly: There is no going back to the 1980′s district,” said Kendra Miller, commissioner.

Officials say 231 different maps were submitted to the commission, some dividing the state north and south and others east and west. The one map that took center stage Friday was PM 42, which creator Jason Wiener says meets the criteria set by the commission and keeps Indian Reservations united.

“The map ensures that both of Montana’s representatives will have to listen to tribal voices and establish government relations with tribal nations,” said Wiener.

State representative Derek Skees (R-Kalispell) accused Wiener of politicizing the boundaries by splitting Flathead county.

“Splitting flathead county, the largest and strongest republican county in the state directly in half along mostly partisan lines is a failure,” Skees said.

Political data and competitiveness were also debated during the public hearing, with individuals arguing whether or not it should be an important factor in creating the two districts.

The next commission meeting will be held on October 5th, where commissioners will decide on which maps, they wish to bring to the public. Commissioners must have a map submitted to the secretary of state by November 14th.

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