Last reviewed August 2021
Minnesota Issues Resource Guides
This guide is compiled by staff at the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library on a topic of interest to state legislators. It introduces the topic and points to sources for further research. It is not intended to be exhaustive.
"The representation in both houses shall be apportioned equally throughout the different sections of the state in proportion to the population thereof. [...] At its first session after each enumeration of the inhabitants of this state made by the authority of the United States, the legislature shall have the power to prescribe the bounds of congressional and legislative districts." - Excerpt from the Constitution of the State of Minnesota, article IV.
As the redistricting process evolves, this page will be updated. NCSL's 2020 Census Delays and the Impact on Redistricting has more details about how the census delay impacts state legislatures. For more information about redistricing in general, please see the Overview of Reapportionment and Redistrcting in Minnesota guide.
The 2020 Census was held on April 1, 2020. When citizens responded to census forms, they told the United States Census Bureau where they lived as of April 1, 2020, and included everyone who usually lives and sleeps in their home. For the first time, citizens could choose to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail. Redistricting—the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts to balance them for equal population while meeting many other criteria—starts again in 2021, after new census data is released. This year, the census process has been delayed and 2020 apportionment data is expected to be delivered to the President by April 30, 2021, with redistricting data delivered to the states by September 30, 2021. The earliest estimated date that the raw data will be available is August 16, 2021.
A lawsuit was filed February 19, 2021 in the Carver County District Court as: Peter S. Wattson, Joseph Mansky, Nancy B. Greenwood, Mary E. Kupper, Douglas W. Backstrom et. al. vs Steve Simon, Kendra Olson (No. 10-CV-21-127) to prevent use of the current maps in 2022 elections. The suit asks the courts to draw the maps if there are no maps adopted by February 15, 2022. Another action was filed with the state supreme court, on February 22, 2021: Peter S. Wattson, et al., vs. Steve Simon, Respondent, Kendra Olson (No. A21-0243). On March 22, Chief Justice Gildea issued an order to form a special redistricting panel, but only after it has been determined that the Legislature has failed to issue successful redistricting plans.
On April 26, 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that Minnesota would hang onto its eight congressional seats -- by a very slim margin. Census Bureau staff said Minnesota received the last congressional seat allotted, which cost New York a seat. Minnesota also received the last House seat in 2010, just edging out North Carolina. Minnesota may have been aided by a stronger-than-usual response to the Census Bureau’s survey. Three-fourths of Minnesota residents voluntarily responded during the initial phase of the census — top among the states and well ahead of the national average of a two-thirds response rate.
The day after the U.S. Census Bureau announced that Minnesota just barely avoided losing a congressional district despite population shifts, a group of Minnesota Democratic voters filed a lawsuit seeking to have the courts take over the state's redistricting process. They predict that the divided Legislature will be unable to agree on new political maps. The latest lawsuit was filed in Ramsey County District Court.
The League of Women Voters of Minnesota filed a motion to join as co-plaintiffs in Wattson v. Simon on June 23, 2021, asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to appoint a special redistricting panel to prepare for the state’s upcoming redistricting process.
On June 30, the Minnesota Supreme Court appointed a five-judge Special Redistricting Panel to oversee redistricting in place of the legislature (Order A21-0243). This makes the sixth time in a row the courts have assumed responsibility for the once-in-a-decade process.
Detailed 2020 Census data was released in early August, 2021. The Census Bureau will also re-release the redistricting data in an easy-to-use format by September 30. Only the format of the data file(s) will differ, with the September version being more user-friendly. The Minnesota State Demographic Center has reformatted the most-requested Minnesota-specific data into easy-to-use CSV files. The legislature and others in Minnesota will use this data to help redraw legislative districts for the next decade, and both Senate and House Redistricting Committees have begun holding regular meetings (see meeting materials section below).
On October 11, 2021, the court-appointed Special Redistricting Panel held the first of a series of 10 public hearings to gather advice on redrawing political boundaries to reflect 2020 census data. That same week, the Minnesota House Redistricting Committee passed a set of redistricting principles aimed at guiding lawmakers during the 2022 session.
The statutory deadline for establishing new congressional and legislative districts is February 15, 2022 because that is twenty-five weeks before the August 9, 2022 primary election (Minnesota Statutes, section 204B.14, subdivision 1a). A special session is likely in order for Minnesota to meet the February 15, 2022 deadline.
Legislative Meeting Materials
Minnesota House of Representatives Redistricting Committee 2021-2022
Minnesota Senate Redistricting Committee 2021-2022 - Use the Hearings for 2021 - 2022 Biennium to see meeting minutes and audio.
2020 Redistricting Page - The Minnesota Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office Web page, which will be updated with Legislative and Congressional plans.
Significant Books and Reports
Gehring, Matt. Congressional and Legislative Redistricting 2020: Timeline Scenarios. St. Paul: House Research Department, 2020. (JK6168 .C67 2020)
Gehring, Matt. Local Government Redistricting 2020. St. Paul: House Research Department, 2020.
Gehring, Matt. Minnesota Redistricting Process: A Historical Overview. St. Paul: House Research Department, 2011. (JK6168 G44 2011)
2021 Redistricting Guide. St. Paul, Minnesota Secretary of State, 2021. (JK6168 .R43 2021)
Redistricting Law 2020 [Member login required to download]. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019. (KF4905 .R42 2019)
General Principles and History
See the Overview of Reapportionment and Redistricting in Minnesota guide for more reports about the history of the process.
Stangl, Alexis C., and Gehring, Matt. History of Minnesota Congressional Redistricting. St. Paul: Minnesota Legislature, Senate Counsel and Research and House Research Department, 2018. (JK1343.M6 S73 2018)
Stangl, Alexis C., and Gehring, Matt. History of Minnesota Legislative Redistricting. St. Paul: Minnesota Legislature, Senate Counsel and Research and House Research Department, 2018. (JK6168 .S73 2018)
Stangl, Alexis and Erickson, Andrew. Redistricting Principles for Congressional Districts in Minnesota: 1980-2010. St. Paul: Minnesota Legislature, Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis, 2021. (JK6168 .R442 2021)
Stangl, Alexis and Erickson, Andrew. Redistricting Principles for Legislative Districts in Minnesota: 1980-2010. St. Paul: Minnesota Legislature, Senate Counsel, Research, and Fiscal Analysis, 2021. (JK6168 .R443 2021)
(articles in reverse chronological order)
Pugmire, Tim. "Court Panel Joins State Redistricting Effort." Minnesota Public Radio, October 12, 2021.
Bierschbach, Briana. "Split Minnesota Communities Plead to Become Whole in New Redistricting Maps." Star Tribune, September 27, 2021.
Bierschbach, Briana. "Minnesota's Divided Government has Tight Timeline for Redistricting." Star Tribune, September 25, 2021.
Mohr, Jonathan. "House Redistricting Committee Receives Census Update, Plans Listening Sessions." Session Daily, August 18, 2021.
Heilman, Dan. "Suit Seeks Redistricting Diversity: Coalition Seeks BIPOC Representation in Boundary Deliberations", Minnesota Lawyer, July 30, 2021.
Carroll, Logan. "Redistricting is a Plodding, Legalistic Process. It's Also Vitally Important to Minnesota's Communities of Color." Sahan Journal, July 20, 2021.
Mohr, Jonathan. "'Very Important Work' on Redistricting Efforts Underway in House." Session Daily, May 15, 2021.
Bierschbach, Briana. "'Every Ounce' Mattered: How Minnesota Saved Eighth Seat in U.S. House." Star Tribune, May 1, 2021.
Featherly, Kevin. "Supreme Court Approves Redistricting Panel." Minnesota Lawyer, March 29, 2021.
Callaghan, Peter. "Lawsuit Pushes Minnesota's Redistricting Process into the Courts, Where it was Likely to End Up Anyway." MinnPost, February 23, 2021.
Bakst, Brian. "Political Mapmaking Heads to Familiar Spot: Minnesota's Courts." MPR News, February 22, 2021.
Henderson, Tim. "State Lawmakers Begin Once-a-Decade Redistricting Fight." Stateline, January 29, 2021.
Lowenthal, Alan S., PhD. "The Ills of Gerrymandering and Independent Redistricing Commissions as the Solution: Policy Essay." Harvard Journal on Legislation, Winter 2019.
"Political Gerrymandering: Judicial Review of Partisan Redistricting." Supreme Court Debates, September 2019.
Wice, Jeffrey M. and Strigari, Frank M. "Redrawing Maps the Right Way: States have an Opportunity to Make a Fresh Start and Achieve Greater Cooperation When Redistricting." State Legislatures, July/August 2019.
Zamarripa, Christi. "Piece by Piece: There's Still Time to Learn the Basics of Redistricting Before You Tackle the Really Tough Stuff." State Legislatures, March/April 2019.
Sturdevant, Lori. "Redistricting Reform Can't Wait; So Say Its Advocates." Star Tribune, January 28, 2019.
Kaul, Greta. "Half of Minnesota's U.S. House Races are Competitive this Year: do we have the Courts to Thank?" MinnPost, July 9, 2018.
"Redistricting Showdown: Should Partisan Gerrymandering be Eliminated?" CQ Researcher, August 25, 2017.
Significant Internet Resources
Census 2020 - From the U.S. Census Bureau.
Districting Principles for 2010 and Beyond - National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) webpage compares districting criteria used by each state as it redrew legislative and congressional districts following the 2010 Census. It also includes new principles adopted by Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Utah for the 2020 cycle.
Election Dates for Legislators and Governors who do Redistricting - Information from NCSL.
Elections & Redistricting - Minnesota House Research Department publications on the topic of redistricting.
Historical Legislative and Congressional Maps - From the Minnesota Legislature's Geographic Information Systems Office.
Laws that Relate to Minnesota Legislative and Congressional Redistricting - From the Minnesota House Research Department.
Minnesota Judicial Branch Special Redistricting Panel -- Information about the panel as well as Orders and Submissions filed.
Redistricting - From the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office, Election Administration & Campaigns Division.
Redistring Data: Census 2020 (reformatted) - A resource page from the Minnesota State Demographic Center. The center analyzes and distributes data from the state, U.S. Census Bureau and other sources. See also their Population Data page.
Redistricting - NCSL's resource for information on the process, law and technology necessary for redistricting. See also their State Redistricting Commissions: State Legislative Plans page, Creation of Redistricting Commissions page, and 2020 Census Delays and the Impact on Redistricting.
Redistricting Reform - League of Women Voters: Minnesota web page with information on redistricting.
Redistricting and the Supreme Court: The Most Significant Cases - NCSL's overview of the most significant Supreme Court decisions on redistricting from the last five decades.
Redistricting 2020 - Information from the Minnesota Legislature's Geographic Information Systems Office.
Additional Library Resources
For newspaper articles on the topic since 2009, check our Minnesota News Archive, Redistricting/Reapportionment 73.0
For materials prior to 2009, check the following codes in the Newspaper Clipping File and the Vertical File:
For additional reports with a Minnesota focus available through the Legislative Reference Library, use these Library catalog searches:
Apportionment (Minnesota); Redistricting (Minnesota); Redistricting "Congressional Research Service"
For further information on redistricting see: