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Lawmakers seek public input on new political boundaries

RC redistricting.jpg
Lee Strubinger
Rep. Peri Pourier addresses redistricting committee during a hearing in Rapid City.

State lawmakers are hitting the road and presenting a statewide map with new political boundaries.

House and Senate redistricting committees are seeking public input on the proposals.

The committees will move from west to east from Rapid City and Mission, to Mobridge, Aberdeen, Watertown and Sioux Falls.

State Sen. Mary Duvall is a Republican from Pierre and chair of the joint redistricting committee.

Duvall says the committees want to hear from the public to incorporate their thoughts into the map.

“To hear from local people is really important,” Duvall said. “One thing as legislators I think we need to keep in mind, is the population in South Dakota has changed over the last 10 years. We have to recognize, unless we live in Lawrence County—whose population grew at exactly the right place, our districts are going to have to be reconfigured in some way. We just have to figure out how best to do that.”

Legislators must redraw political boundaries every decade following the census. The state usually receives census data in the Spring, but a delay is shortening the process.

“At the end of the day we have to come up with 35 districts that are all fairly equal in population, that are contiguous and are compact,” Duvall adds. “We’ve got a lot of work yet to do ahead of us.”

The House and Senate redistricting committees will develop legislative map proposals.

Legislators are scheduled to vote on proposed maps during a special session on November 8. If the House and Senate are unable to agree on a map proposal, the South Dakota Supreme Court will draw political boundaries.