Redistricting committee adopts legislative maps
PIERRE, South Dakota: The special committee on redistricting approved new state legislative maps on Tuesday, setting the stage for a special session on October 24. The panel approved the new districts on a party-line vote of 10-3.
The final meeting was characterized by tension as opponents accused legislators of partisan politics and drawing incumbent-friendly districts. State representative Susan Wismer (D) said that Republicans have gerrymandered the state's districts for the past 30 years, leading to big GOP advantages in each chamber. Republicans currently have overwhelming majorities in the legislature -- 30-5 in the Senate and 50-19-1 in the House.
According to Wisner, Democrats make up about 45 percent of registered voters, but she says gerrymandering prevents the legislature from reflecting that percentage. South Dakota has 35 districts, each district elects one senator and two representatives. The plan as adopted would place Wismer and four other Democratic incumbents in one district. House Speaker Val Rausch (R) defended the process, arguing the committee had attempted to be as fair as possible.
- The proposed maps can be found here.