Panel recommends changes to election redistricting lawsby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A Minnesota Senate panel discussed a plan Friday that would let retired judges take over the task of drawing new political boundaries.
The state won't face the task of re-shaping legislative and congressional districts again until after the 2010 census. However, some lawmakers say they want a new system in place by then to take the politics out of redistricting.
Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Gov. Arne Carlson are backing a plan to put a commission of five retired judges in charge.
Carlson says the nonpartisan approach would increase the competition among candidates in more districts.
"You'll have a much bigger middle. And the result is fewer and fewer people can afford the luxury of going to their base. They're going to have to broaden their base. And that's precisely what you want, and that's precisely in the best interest of the state as a whole," says Carlson.
Carlson says the prospect of Minnesota losing a congressional seat after the next census will make redistricting even more partisan, unless changes are made.