Every decade, the federal government conducts a census to count the population of the United States. When the census is complete, local election offices use the population figures to redistrict their territory. That way, the population is fairly represented by elected officials at the local level.
At their last April meeting, the Dodge County Commissioners approved the redistricting of the five County Commissioner districts in the county. These maps and the boundaries of the districts may be found at the bottom of the page at https://www.co.dodge.mn.us/county_board/index.php
Accounting Services Director, Sara Marquardt explained the process to the commissioners and talked about the geographic requirements for the redistricting. She noted,
- Each county is divided into as many districts as there are members of the Board of Commissioners.
- Commissioner districts are bounded by precinct line (which may also correspond with town, municipal, and ward boundaries).
- Commissioner districts are composed of contiguous territory.
- Commissioner districts are to be as regular and compact in form as possible.
- District populations cannot vary more than ten percent from the average.
She further explained that the total population for the county at the 2020 census was 20,867. That number, divided by five – the number of districts – is equal to the target size for each district; in this case 4,173. Each district’s population should fall within 10 % of that number; that is between 3,756 and 4,590.
To make matters more complicated, a new state statute requires that if there is a shift in population in the district of more than 5% of the ideal district population, the county commissioner will have to rerun for their district seat. That is, take 5% of the county population divided by the number of districts or 20,867/5 = 4,173 X 0.05 = 208. That 5% shift is determined by adding together the number of people that moved into the district and out of the district.
Untold hours of work went into figuring out the new districting maps, explained Sara. She thanked Dave Deschene for his invaluable assistance in the process.
For Dodge County, the commissioners representing Districts 2, (Tim Tjosaas) 3, (Rodney Peterson) and 4 (Rhonda Toquam) will have to stand for reelection. Candidate filing opens on May 17.