The Montana Districting and Appointment Commission adopted new rules yesterday to lay out how districts will be carved out following the 2020 Census. In a controversial 3-2 vote, Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Smith sided with Democrats to include a provision that “competitiveness” could be considered when drawing out congressional districts.
“Montanans expect their legislative districts to be drawn in a manner that does not favor one political party over another,” said Montana Republican party Chairman Don Kaltschmidt in a press release put out by the MTGOP.
“It is disappointing this decision was made to give Democrats an unfair partisan advantage and it’s evident members of the Commission on the other side of the aisle only obey laws they like,” he added.
Montana is one of fifteen states which appoints an independent redistricting commission comprised of two Democrat and two Republican appointed members. Chairwoman Marilyn Smith, a former Univeristy of Montana Law Professor, was appointed by the Montana Supreme Court to serve as the deciding vote.
Democrat-appointed committee member Joe Lamson argued that including criteria for creating more competitive districts would reduce partisanship.
“If you want to dampen down the noise in our society and the partisanship, one of the ways to do that is to increase competitiveness,” Lamson said.
The Commission is scheduled to reconvene on Auguest 17th.
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