The United States Government made up those designations, and Minnesota State Demographer Tom Gillaspy says the meaning of those names changes nearly every census.
Gillaspy gives an excellent presentation of how race, city lines, county lines, lakes, rivers and bridges impact how the political boundaries that determine who is represented by which congressman, congresswoman and legislator. The politically charged task that must be done every ten years has been turned over to the Minnesota courts after the Governor and the Republican controlled legislature could not agree on a plan. The court is holding hearings next week to get input from the public.
Saturday a non-partisan group called Draw The Line Minnesota spent the day educating potential testifiers about the things that must be considered when drawing the district lines. Gillaspy’s presentation was part of that education.
Gillaspy noted that the Republican redistricting plan that Governor Mark Dayton rejected would have completely changed the boundaries of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. That district recently elected Republican Chip Cravaak after decades of electing Democrats.
Gillaspy says even with the change in the population, the size and the shape of the current 8th District is “about right”. However, as he explains, there are other forces that might reshape the 8th District. There are state boundaries that cannot be moved and the corners of the state constrain districts, meaning that the ones that must grow larger in size because they don’t have enough people, may force the other districts to change shape.