South Dakota holds special session for new redistricting map

State lawmakers conducted a special session to finalize a new map of South Dakota’s political districts. They have to do this since both federal and state law require it, but the clock is ticking.

Blackbird 20

Senate Redistricting Committee Proposed Plan Blackbird 2.0

The goal sounds simple enough, take the latest census population numbers and redraw the state’s boundaries for its voting districts, make sure all 35 districts have roughly the same amount of people, about 25,300, and make sure the minority groups are fairly represented with no gerrymandering. That means no drawing political boundaries that favor one group of the population over another.

“There’s a lot of layers to this. It’s very easy to draw one perfect district, but it rolls out through the entire state. So, it’s a state-wide deal.” says State Rep. Mike Derby. “This is where the people get one voice, one vote and where their representatives are from.”

This process is not as easy as it may sound. South Dakota’s population is rising in general according to the latest census, but this rise is mainly attributed to urban areas.

In some rural areas of the state the population is holding steady while other areas are on the decline.

“We knew from population shifts that there would be one less rural district in the state of South Dakota and one additional urban district in Sioux Falls because that’s where most of the growth has happened.” says State Sen. Helene Duhamel

Why should this matter to voters?

The ultimate goal of all of this is to make sure that your voice is heard and your vote matters at both the state and federal level.

Once lawmakers decide on a final map and send the results to the governor, she can either sign off on it and send it to Washington D.C., or reject it by December 1 and the issue will be moved to the state supreme court.

To learn more about the redistricting process, click here.

Categories: Politics & Elections, South Dakota News