Wattson v. Simon seeks to ensure that Minnesota’s electoral maps are drawn fairly
St. Paul, Minnesota—Today, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota filed a motion to join as co-plaintiffs in Wattson v. Simon, asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to appoint a special redistricting panel to prepare for the state’s upcoming redistricting process.
“Historically, Minnesota legislatures have not been able to draw fair maps without the courts getting involved,” said Michelle Witte, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota. “We are asking our state Supreme Court to ensure maps are fair and represent the significant demographic changes we have seen in our state within the last decade.”
The Minnesota Constitution gives the legislature the power to prescribe the bounds of congressional and legislative districts at its first session after each census. However, if the legislature fails to act, after having adequate opportunity to do so, the court should not allow elections under a constitutionally invalid scheme. Since 1972, federal and state courts in Minnesota have stepped in to draw constitutional maps when the legislature has failed to do so.
“The League is working to ensure that maps are drawn transparently and with full public participation to protect communities of interest in Minnesota,” said Demetrius Fisher, national campaign manager for People Powered Fair MapsTM, the League of Women Voters of the United States’ redistricting reform program. “Minnesota has one of the most diverse citizenries in the country, and if it is known that Minnesota legislatures traditionally don’t draw maps without intervention, then the Minnesota Supreme Court must act to protect Minnesota communities.”
The League of Women Voters is joining the case filed in February by Peter S. Wattson and others, represented by the James H. Gilbert Law Group PLLC.
“We are honored to work with and on behalf of the League of Women Voters Minnesota in this critically important case that stands to impact every voter in Minnesota,” said former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice James H. Gilbert, Adam Sienkowski, and Jody E. Nahlovsky of the James H. Gilbert Law Group. “With its longstanding history of promoting active participation and inclusivity in our democracy, the League of Women Voters will provide a unique and important perspective in this litigation as named plaintiffs.”
“The outreach done by the League of Women Voters of Minnesota in working with communities to draw our maps will ensure that the special redistricting panel has the information it needs to balance the many conflicting interests in a way that is fair to all Minnesota voters,” said Peter Wattson.
In the coming weeks, the LWV of Minnesota will conduct community mapping with diverse groups across the state to ensure that communities of interest are fairly represented in the state’s map drawing.
PRESS CONTACT: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | [email protected]
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a big victory for citizen-led democracy. In a 5-4 decision in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the Court found that voters can set up independent redistricting commissions.