Legislature

Port: the legislator is on the right track to use inequalities to create political equality

Currently, each legislative constituency in the state elects a senator and two representatives for identical four-year terms.

The plan developed by an interim redistribution committee, which was debated in the House today, includes subdivisions for House members in two legislative constituencies.

District 9, which encompasses the Reservation of the Turtle Mountain, and District 4, which includes the Fort Berthold Reservation, would be divided with one of the elected representatives from each district. This would mean that residents of those two districts, including voting populations in reserve communities, could only vote for two members of the legislature every two years.

Voters in all other districts in the state would still vote for three.

During the debate on the floor of the House, supporters of this subdivision plan, including the chairman of the redistribution committee Representative Bill Devlin, R-Finley, insisted on the need to help the state of North Dakota avoid a costly legal battle. Their claim is that the Voting Rights Act, as well as case law, force the hand of North Dakota.

MORE ABOUT ROB PORT

This is what needs to be done, they say.

It was a surreal debate to watch (click here to watch the video; the invoice is HB1504).

Could it really be that the only way to comply with the Voting Rights Act, and the various court orders issued on the basis of that act, is for North Dakota to give residents of two legislative districts with one significant Native American population one elected representative less than all other districts in the state?

Is this the result we want in the name of equal treatment before the law?

The problem, or the potential problem, that supporters of the subdivision are trying to solve is that the tribes have struggled to elect candidates from their communities. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I’m not even sure that’s something we should care about.

We are not supposed to draw lines to promote specific political results. It’s gerrymandering.

The North Dakota Redistribution Committee on Wednesday, September 29 approved a plan to divide District 4 into two sub-districts, one of which (4A) encompasses the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.  Special at the Forum

The North Dakota Redistribution Committee on Wednesday, September 29 approved a plan to divide District 4 into two sub-districts, one of which (4A) encompasses the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. Special at the Forum

We should not want a balkanized political system. We should want candidates whose appeal is broad and not restricted.

But setting all that aside and stating, for the sake of argument, the idea that the conclusions reached by the courts and the federal government are fair and deserve to be respected, can it really be said that subdividing just two districts, giving them less political representation than other districts, is this the right result?

When should empiricism prevail over jurists and politicians?

I live in district 5 in Minot. I have three members of the Legislative Assembly that I can vote for.

If this subdivision plan becomes law, the inhabitants of districts 4 and 9 will only be able to vote for two.

Three is more than two.

Some people would get three. Others would have two.

It’s just math.

It is not enough to tell us that this inequality is what the voting rights law and court precedents require.

Representative Terry Jones, a Republican from District 4, so someone directly affected by the subdivision, proposed to separate the subdivision language from the redistribution bill, but he was defeated by a vote of 37-54, meaning the subdivision plan and the uneven representation it creates survives.

To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com

Rob Port, Founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Contact him on Twitter at @robport or by email at [email protected]


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.