On the Geek-O-Meter, redistricting ranks up there with arguing over who shot first, Han Solo or Greedo. Nevertheless, redistricting is an important part of our election process that impacts every Minnesotan. That is why I am so disappointed in Governor Mark Dayton.
In his most partisan move this session, Governor Dayton vetoed a bill to remedy a legislative district line drawn through a retirement community, effectively putting hall neighbors – or even roommates – in different districts.
House File 2821 was introduced at the behest of the City of Edina, supported by Democrat Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, and endorsed by the League of Minnesota Cities. The bill had no partisan undertones and was done as a measure of good faith. It was a collaborative effort that Governor Dayton claims in his veto letter was “not appropriate” and “would set a bad precedent.”
Yet, the same legislative fix was made 10 years ago when this mistake of dividing the very same apartment building in half occurred at the hand of the court. Back then, the measure passed 125 to 0 in the GOP-controlled House and 63 to 0 in the Democrat-controlled Senate and signed into law by Governor Pawlenty. The Legislature and Governor have the constitutional authority AND responsibility to make this correction.
Clearly, Governor Dayton’s veto is indicative of him being out of touch with the people of Minnesota. Prior to this weekend, the governor was missing in action, his mug shot nearly posted on the side of a milk carton during negotiations.
When he returned, he vetoed more bills that 80 percent of Minnesotans support. Overall, he has vetoed 20 bipartisan bills – that’s 87 percent of all vetoes this year.
So what are the decade-long results from the governor’s veto? Increased voter confusion, increased election costs, and decreased voter turn-out. Dayton has nearly disenfranchisedover 200 senior citizens by forcing them to remain in different legislative districts from their neighbors across the hallway.
Perhaps Governor Dayton should focus less on the “gotcha politics” and focus more on doing what’s right for citizens. The people of Minnesota deserve better.
And by the way, Han shot first.
Rep. Anderson is the Chair of Redistricting and the State Representative for House District 43A, which includes Plymouth and Medicine Lake.