Proposed Ballot Initiative Aims to End Gerrymandering in SD
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota lawmakers tasked with redrawing the state's legislative boundaries will soon meet following the release of census data used for the maps. A nonpartisan group says the current process allows for gerrymandering, and hopes to prompt a major change.
The South Dakota League of Women Voters is leading an effort through a coalition, called "Drawn Together SD." It's gathering petitions for a question on the 2022 ballot, asking for an independent commission to handle redistricting.
League president Amy Scott-Stoltz pointed out that there haven't been big changes in voter registration numbers, but Republicans have gained overwhelming majorities in the Legislature.
"And when we look at that, we look at the way the lines were drawn," she said, "and we can see that there are areas where gerrymandering has come into play."
Because of their majorities, Republicans hold most of the seats on redistricting committees. The chair of the Senate panel has said they're making the process fair as possible. Their next meeting is Aug. 30.
Redistricting happens every 10 years after the census. But if the petition makes it onto the ballot next year and is approved, an independent panel would redraw the maps in 2023.
Among other things, an independent commission would not allow either party to hold a majority. Scott-Stoltz said that's been a common issue in most states.
"We've seen it across the country, where no matter what party is in charge, gerrymandering does come into play," she said. "So, what we're doing is really giving the power back to the people, and saving our democracy."
Supporters of the current process say the map drawn after the 2010 census did not result in any lawsuits. But two decades ago, the Native American community successfully sued the state, saying those maps violated their voting rights.
get more stories like this via email
DENVER - On Wednesday, leaders from Colorado's 13 community colleges joined a national effort to help more of the state's adults get credentials and …
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Today, a virtual summit hosted by the Las Vegas Mayor's Faith Initiative looks at the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous …
HOUSTON -- Many U.S. communities with bustling downtowns were better prepared to weather economic fallout from the pandemic, thanks to a decades-old …
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin group that advocates for working families is launching a new campaign, which connects federal policy to the …
Health and Wellness
WATERLOO, Iowa -- Advocates for Iowans with disabilities are sounding the alarm over what they describe as a caregiver crisis, pleading with …
BRAINERD, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners are storing their watercraft for the winter. But that isn't stopping the conversation about responsible water …
BOISE, Idaho - Millions of members around the world, including some Idahoans, are observing International Credit Union Day today. This year marks 73…
INDIANAPOLIS -- As finding a career becomes more difficult for young people, a new report said the U.S. needs a more comprehensive approach to …