The Iowans had their first chance to weigh on a set of proposed legislative and congressional maps on Monday, urging lawmakers to defend the state’s much-vaunted history of non-partisan redistribution.
Five Iowa residents spoke and about 50 others submitted written comments during the first of three public hearings scheduled for this week.
“We have heard a lot about gerrymandering in the Red States and the Blue States, and I am delighted, as a citizen, that we are doing it the right way through the Legislative Services Agency, and I applaud their excellent work. Ryan Crane said. during the meeting. “(I) really encourage people not to make it a partisan affair, not to play politics with it, not to kind of blow up the process.”
The cards, if accepted, would change the balance of political power in Iowa for the next decade and help determine who will represent voters in Congress and the Statehouse.
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The non-partisan Iowa Legislative Services Agency released the proposed maps last week, which redraw the state’s four congressional districts and the state’s 150 House and Senate districts. The agency draws new districts every 10 years after the release of the US census. In Iowa, the census showed that fewer people live in rural areas of the state and more move to larger cities and suburbs, and the new districts better reflect these population changes.
The cards would keep each of the four current members of Congress from Iowa in their current districts – but their ability to win in those districts next year could vary wildly. The 1st Congressional District would become more Democratic-friendly by bringing together Johnson, Linn and Scott counties, while the 2nd District would become slightly more Republican-friendly. The 3rd arrondissement would retain an equal partisan division and the 4th arrondissement would become more republican.
More than 60 current state lawmakers would also be drawn to districts with an alternate holder if the proposed cards are passed.
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The current set of maps on offer keeps Polk and Dallas counties in the 3rd Congressional District, giving Des Moines and many of its suburbs the same representation in Congress.
Michael Tallman spoke at the meeting and urged lawmakers to approve maps that reflect how “everything is much more interconnected than it may have been 10 or 20 years ago.”
âMy sister lives just outside of Ankeny and works in Nevada. I live in downtown Des Moines and work in Dallas County,â he said. “… So this relationship is really cool, and to see a map that reflects that stuff would be really nice to have for the next 10 years.”
The majority of written comments left on the Iowa Legislature’s website urged lawmakers to preserve Iowa’s non-partisan redistribution process and approve the proposed map.
State lawmakers will return to the Iowa Capitol on October 5 for a special session where they will decide whether or not to approve the cards. If they voted against the proposal, the Legislative Services Agency would have 35 days to draw new maps. Lawmakers must accept or reject the cards; they cannot amend them.
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If lawmakers rejected the second card, the LSA would have an additional 35 days to create a third plan, which lawmakers would then be allowed to change.
The Iowa Supreme Court has said lawmakers must complete their work and approve new cards by December 1.
The Iowans will have two more chances to give their opinion on the proposed cards, during public hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday. Like Monday’s hearing, the two will be held virtually. These hearings are planned:
- Tuesday at noon
- Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Details on posting meetings, registering to speak, or offering a written commentary can be found on the Iowa Legislature’s website, Legis.Iowa.gov.
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