The CGM Strategy Team has concurred that our collective public input into the Montana Legislative District redistricting process is vital to the goals of CGM. These include democracy, fairness, and equal representation of Indigenous people.
We will gather on this Friday, August 26th at 2pm at Emmaus House on University Avenue to walk to the public comment at the UM law school together and provide comment. Bring leaders with you if you are able. If you are unable to join us, you will find a link below to submit comments online. RSVP for the event below.
Briefly, our strategy team found that Maps 2 and 3 are politically fair and maintain an equitable representation of Indigenous Peoples/Native Americans. Maps 1 and 4 are gerrymandered and eliminate equitable representation of Indigenous Peoples/Native Americans. Additionally, blending the maps is an unacceptable solution because Maps 2 and 3 meet the criteria and are fair and equitable; compromise will create unfair and inequitable maps.
Here is why the strategy team has made this decision and why we hope you will mobilize your leaders to show up for this public comment event:
Montana redraws its legislative districts after each census (every 10 years) Constitutionally, this is done by a bi/non-partisan commission with 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats and a neutral mediator. The neutral mediator will likely play a large role in deciding which map gets used this time. Maylinn Smith from CSKT is the mediator this round and will be taking comments at the law school this Friday.
There are four maps before the commission.
Maps 1 and 4 pay no attention to the goals and directives of the commission beyond looking even to the eye and communities of interest. They eliminate Native American majority districts and are gerrymandered to create scenarios where it is likely that 70/100 legislative seats will be Republican, even though the commission-agreed-on-data says that Montanans vote about 57% Republican and 43% Democrat. These maps would create a supermajority in our legislature that would not need to build bridges or compromise on legislation for the common good of Montana. Additionally, this supermajority would be in effect for the next 10 years, or 5 legislative cycles.
Maps 2 and 3 meet all the criteria the commission has set for itself and are politically fair. Statistically, they would elect approximately 57 Republicans and 43 Democrats to the legislature, which would fairly represent the citizens of Montana. This also leads to important civic conversation and debate to get things done we can hopefully agree on. Very importantly, maps 2 and 3 maintain a likely fair representation of 7-8% Indigenous legislators in the capital, which is proportionate to their population in the state.
We all know that our city and county government could do more, but we also know that the State of Montana has a strong influence on our ability to act. Having a super majority for the next 5 sessions would make organizing even more challenging than it is now.
Organizing is 80% organizing and 20% mobilizing. We’ve been building up our institutions and this is an example of a reason to mobilize. John Lund (Emmaus) has even suggested we could have some social interaction after the public comment back at Emmaus House! Please come, and please bring leaders with you. Feel free to distribute this to your institutions. We will have a briefing and notes available at 2pm on Friday to help everyone feel confident giving comments.
More information here: https://mtredistricting.gov/ and here: https://my.lwv.org/montana/action-alert/montanas-legislative-districting-process-needs-you
You can submit online comments here: https://mtredistricting.gov/contact/
See you Friday!