Minnesota Prison Gerrymandering Strategy Discussion

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Thursday August 21, 9:00-11:00 a.m., League of Women Voters 550 Rice St., St. Paul, MN 55103.

Please join us for a discussion of strategy to end prison gerrymandering in Minnesota.

RSVP to Mark Haase at mahaase@gmail.com.

The Minnesota State Constitution says that incarcerated people remain legal residents of their home addresses, but the U.S. Census counts incarcerated people as residents of the often-remote prison cells. When Minnesota uses this flawed data to draw legislative districts, the state gives extra influence to the districts that contain prisons and dilutes the votes of every resident in the state who doesn’t live next to a large prison. (A similar, but even more dramatic, problem occurs when rural cities and counties that contain large prisons use this data to draw their city and county district lines.) So far, four states have passed legislation that counts incarcerated people as residents of the prison location, and the U.S. Census Bureau is considering changes as well.

The national expert on prison gerrymandering, Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative, will be in Minnesota the day before for a conference with the Census Bureau and national redistricting experts, so we are setting up this meeting so that Peter can share his work and experience with us. Peter will share his Minnesota research with us and lead a discussion about how the successful campaigns in New York, Maryland, Delaware and California can inform our work here in Minnesota.

This is an issue that the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters have worked on in the past, and even had legislation introduced, and now is an excellent time to put together a plan for a successful reform effort in the next legislative session.

We hope you can join us. If you have questions please contact Mark Haase at mahaase@gmail.com.

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