Is Montana Gerrymandered? [Audio]
Right now, the Montana Districting and Apportionment Committee is in the process of redrawing the voting districts for the entire state. KGVO News spoke with Districting commissioner Jon Bennion about that process to learn why the current voting lines are the way that they are.
Referring to the current lines, Bennion said that "the one consistent thing from one area to the next was a benefit [to] one particular political party that used voting preferences and political data to determine where lines would be." The Districting committee of 2010, just like the one today, was composed of five members. Four of those members were chosen by the political parties but the deciding vote or chairperson was picked by the Montana Supreme court. Bennion says that the chair in 2000 choose to use the office for political means and crafted a voting district map that would favor her party.
The committee that drew the lines in 2000 was allowed to pack or shrink the voting districts by five percent and Bennion says that the committee misused that power to get more representation from urban voting districts while diluting the vote of rural voting districts.
The current Districting and Apportionment committee has agreed to scale back the population deviation to just three percent. To learn more about the process and problems the committee is going through