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Published November 10, 2011, 10:08 PM

One Council Member Wants To Revamp Redistricting Process

The seven wards in Grand Forks could soon be drawn along different lines. City council members have discussed using recent census data to redistrict the city.

During the state's special session, Governor Jack Dalrymple signed the bill that keeps 47 legislative districts in the state, with some adjustments for population changes.

Now the city of Grand Forks might mirror that process on the local level

The process of redistricting will begin with the city's planning department. The department will work with the census data to redraw district lines. But the city council will also have a say in how the new wards will look, which causes concern for some council members.

"Redistricting has been talked about a little among some of the council members, and personally that makes me a little uncomfortable. I hope that we get into public meetings as soon as possible," Ward 2 City Council Member Tyrone Grandstrand said.

City council member Tyrone Grandstrand wants the issue to become public because he doesn't think city council members should have a say in how district lines are drawn.

"I think it's best to keep that as much as you can out of the political decision making body so that its' fair for the residents, for everybody besides us, because I think we shouldn't be in consideration," Grandstrand said.

Redistricting will begin with the city's planning department, then move to the city council.

"And so we get some say over it, which I think could be a conflict of interest because we're going to obviously care about whether we're drawn out of our wards, which is possible," Grandstrand added.

Grandstrand says the city hasn't redrawn the ward lines in about 10 years. But he thinks it's necessary now. With the city's growth, some wards are more populated than others.

"You have to look at these from time to time and try to redraw them to keep those districts as equal as you can," Grand Forks Public Information Officer Kevin Dean said.

Grandstrand says he has a simple solution to keep politics out of it.

"My best hope would be that we would actually create a new way of doing it, which is to do the independent commission. Which like I said before, a lot of states are doing and it keeps partisan and incumbent interests out of it," Grandstrand said.

The city doesn't have a set timeline on when redistricting would happen, but the goal is much like the state's, it's based on population.

After the city redistricts, there could be a different location people would go to vote, and they could be represented by a different person. Other than that, people shouldn't notice too much of a change.