Get involved in the Redistricting Process – Billings/Crow Region
For those of you who weren’t able to watch last week, the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission released map proposals.
The Democratic maps are fair, and would produce a proportional legislature for Montana. The Republican maps would produce extremely lopsided outcomes for the state. With just 57% of the vote, Republicans would be favored to win in 71 and 72 seats on each of their two plans.
In another grim turn of events, Republicans decided they were so desperate to steal seats that they even proposed taking away Native representation from Indian Country. Both maps would flip Native seats red in Crow and Northern Cheyenne, with districts crafted to ensure that Native candidates of choice cannot win both districts. One Republican proposal would stop Blackfeet and CSKT from being kept whole in a Senate district, a precedent we have had for 20 years. It would ensure for the first time in 20 years that there are no majority minority House seats on the Flathead reservation. The other proposal blocks any chance for Fort Peck to remain with Rocky Boy and Fort Belknap, eliminating another majority-minority Senate district.
Commissioners Miller and Lamson have put in the work and created many many resources for the public to use to understand what each proposal would mean for the state. You can find every proposal and tools to analyze them here in a tweet thread from Kendra. I’ve also attached some talking points you can use as well.
Now that we have Republican maps in hand, the next few days will involve some heavy analysis.
Pro Fair Maps:
- Both map proposals put forward by Democratic Commissioners are proportionally fair and are likely to elect a legislature that reflects how Montana votes.
- Both proposed Democratic maps add one competitive legislative seat to the map, responding to the loud and clear testimony from the public valuing competitiveness.
- The proposed Democratic maps represent where Montanans live and ensure that the legislature can fairly represent a variety of interests and diversity of opinions.
- The proposed Democratic maps have 6 majority-minority house districts that elect Native candidates of choice that will be paired into 3 majority-minority senate districts that will elect Native candidates of choice.
Opposing Republican Gerrymandering:
- The Republican maps are extreme gerrymanders. The GOP would be favored to win 71 to 72 seats when they are only receiving 57% of the statewide vote. That’s 14 to 15 more seats than what Montanans are voting for. It’s clear they are trying to rig the game.
- The Republicans voted with the Chair to say that no plan can be drawn to unduly favor a political party. Now they’ve gone back on their word to rig Montana’s electoral system in their favor.
- And on top of it all, some of the seats that Republicans are stealing come from Indian Country, where they have ensured that Native voters’ candidates of choice lose a majority of the time. This is a violation of the Voting Rights Act, and it’s bottom-of-the-barrel politics.