Last reviewed February 2022
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.
Legislative Meetings • Books and Reports • Articles • Internet Resources • Additional Library Resources
"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.
The official state population counts from the 2000 Census were released on December 28, 2000. Minnesota's population was recorded at 4,919,479, a growth of 12% from the 1990 census. Since Minnesota's growth kept a relative pace with the nation, Minnesota retained eight U.S. House of Representatives districts. Minnesota has had eight representatives since 1960. Reapportionment does not affect the U.S. Senate in which each state has two senators, regardless of population.
Though the number of congressional districts in Minnesota went unchanged, the boundaries needed to be changed to reflect shifts in population density. Governor Ventura established an an 11-member Governor's Citizen Advisory Commission on Redistricting, to begin the process. The group included representatives of the four major political parties, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, and four additional members who were appointed at-large.
As the 2001 Minnesota legislative session got underway, each chamber formed redistricting-related committees. The minutes and audio of these committees are available online. Archived videos of several of the House committee meetings are also available online.
As redistricting bills were introduced during the 2001 Minnesota legislative session, maps of the proposed districts were made available on the Legislature's Subcommittee on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) website (which is now known as the Legislative Coordinating Commission's Geospatial Information Office). Maptitude was the web-based software chosen to generate the various redistricting proposals of legislative staff, Governor's staff, and many local governments. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau from the 2000 Census included more detailed race and ethnicity categories than previous censuses, and also reported people listing multiple ethnicities. As described in the report, Use of Racial Data in Redistricting, this data was used by the Legislature's GIS office so that all 504 categories of racial and ethnic data were taken into consideration. A Senate Counsel report, Public Access to Redistricting Data in Minnesota, details Minnesota's open records law and how the Minnesota Legislature made redistricting data available to the public. Additional descriptions of the Legislature's redistricting computer systems is detailed in the Minnesota Redistricting System Profile.
There were efforts to standardize redistricting principles in the Senate and the House by joint resolution, but consensus was not reached (see 2001 SF1326, Revisor's Side-by-Side). By May 20, 2001, the Republican-approved plans (HF2519; HF2516) and the DFL-approved plan (SF2377) had made progress through the legislature. However, the plans had little in common and media speculated that a compromise was unlikely before session's end and perhaps even unlikely before the March 19, 2002 statutory deadline (Minnesota Statutes, section 204B.14).
On July 12, 2001, Chief Justice Kathleen A. Blatz of the Minnesota Supreme Court appointed a special redistricting panel, in response to a suit brought by Susan M. Zachman et al. (case no. C0-01-160) alleging that, under the then-current congressional districts, the population of the state of Minnesota was unconstitutionally mal-apportioned. The panel, which was comprised of five judges, started to develop redistricting principles to be used to formulate a plan. The plan would be released only in the event that Legislative efforts failed by the deadline.
According to the Star Tribune, Governor Ventura, with advice from the Governor's Citizen Advisory Commission on Redistricting, released a Congressional plan on August 22, 2001. His legislative plan was released on October 31, 2001.
A Senate workgroup continued to meet and discuss plans into the fall (see minutes and audio of the Senate workgroup). The workgroup heard public testimony and reviewed both Senate and House plans for congressional and legislative redistricting.
Republican, DFL, Governor Ventura, and other plans were submitted to the five-judge special redistricting panel in December after the panel released their principles and requirements for plan submissions. There was continued disagreement from all parties involved as plans from each group were released and discussed.
As the March 19, 2002 deadline approached, the five-judge special redistricting panel heard oral arguments and held public hearings around the state. Redistricting information is available regarding these Congressional and Legislative district plans from the Legislature's Geographic Information Systems Office.
The Legislature did not adopt a redistricting plan before the deadline and on March 19, 2002, the Congressional and Legislative Districts ordered by the Minnesota Supreme Court in the matter of Zachman v. Kiffmeyer (case no. C0-01-160) were released: Final order adopting a legislative redistricting plan and Final order adopting a congressional redistricting plan.
The Legislature adjusted a few boundary lines. Adjustments to 45th district in Laws of Minnesota 2003, 1st special session, chapter 16, section 13 affected about 200 residents, including Rep. Lyndon Carlson. See New Laws, page 8 for more details. Another adjustment was made to the 41st district in Laws of Minnesota 2004, chapter 170, section 1. The adjustment was made because the original line was drawn through the middle of some apartment buildings, which caused confusion among residents. See further details in Session Weekly, February 6, 2004 on page 5.
Legislative Meeting Materials
Redistricting 2000: Supplementary Materials - Minutes and audio from the House Committee on Redistricting, Senate Subcommittee on Redistricting, and Senate Redistricting Workgroup
House Television Archives 2001 - 2002 - Committee Archives - The House video archives contain several redistricting meetings.
Significant Books and Reports
2001 Senate Briefly. St. Paul, MN: Senate Publications Office, 2001.
2002 Congressional Districts. St. Paul: Legislative Coordinating Commission, Subcommittee on Geographic Information Systems, 2002. (JK2493 .T96 2002)
2002 Legislative Districts. St. Paul: Legislative Coordinating Commission, Subcommittee on Geographic Information Systems, 2002. (JK6168 .N572 2002)
Gillaspy, Tom. Fact Sheet on Reapportionment and Redistricting. St. Paul: Minnesota Planning, 2000. (A succinct and informative essay by Minnesota's State Demographer.)
Minnesota Local Redistricting Cases: The 2000s. St. Paul: Minnesota Senate, Office of Senate Counsel and Research, 2002.
Redistricting Law 2000. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures, 1999. (KF4905 .N27 1999)
State Redistricting Profiles 2000. Washington, D.C.: National Conference of State Legislatures, 1999. (JK2493 .S73 1999)
Wattson, Peter. Enacting a Redistricting Plan. St. Paul: Minnesota Senate, Office of Senate Counsel and Research, 1997. (KF4905.W38 1997)
Wattson, Peter. How to Draw Redistricting Plans That Will Stand Up in Court. St. Paul: Minnesota Senate, Office of Senate Counsel and Research, 1999. (JK1341.W382 1999)
Wattson, Peter. Public Access to Redistricting Data in Minnesota. St. Paul: Minnesota Senate, Office of Senate Counsel and Research, 2000. (KFM5862.6.A25W37 2000)
Wattson, Peter. Reapportionment and Redistricting in the United States of America. St. Paul: Minnesota Senate, Office of Senate Counsel and Research, 2000. (KF4905.Z9W383 2000)
Wattson, Peter. Use of Racial Data in Redistricting. St. Paul: Minnesota Senate, Office of Senate Counsel and Research, 2001. (KF4905.W39 2000)
General Principles and History
See the Overview of Reapportionment and Redistricting in Minnesota guide for more reports about the history of the process.
Gehring, Matt. Minnesota Redistricting Process: A Historical Overview. St. Paul: Research Department, Minnesota House of Representatives, 2011. (JK6168 G44 2011)
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)
Wattson, Peter. Districting Principles in Minnesota Courts. St. Paul: Peter S. Wattson, 2018. (JK6168 .W388 2018)
Wattson, Peter. History of Minnesota Redistricting. St. Paul: Peter S. Wattson, 2019. (JK6168 .W39 2019)
(articles in reverse chronological order)
"Elections: Redistricting Corrections." Session Weekly, April 30, 2004, Volume 21, Number 13, p. 5.
"Metro Affairs: Met Council, Legislative Changes." New Laws, 2003, p. 56.
Weber, Ronald E. "Emerging Trends in State Legislative Redistricting." Spectrum: The Journal of State Government, Winter 2002, p. 13-15.
Brunswick, Mark and Robert Whereatt. "Legislators Turn Geography Students for a Day." Star Tribune, March 20, 2002, p. A10.
Smith, Dane. "Ventura Panel Produces New Redistricting Maps." Star Tribune, November 1, 2001, p. B7.
Smith, Dane. "Ventura Redistricting Plan is Released." Star Tribune, August 23, 2001, p. B1. [Includes maps of Republican, DFL, and Ventura's plans.]
Maeda, David. "Balancing Act." Session Weekly, January 19, 2001, p.3-4, 27.
"Politically Complex Task of Redistricting Lies Ahead." Minnesota Journal, October 17, 2000, p. 1-2.
"Ten Secrets of Redistricting." State Legislatures, September 1999, p. 26-29.
Significant Internet Resources
Governor's Citizen Advisory Commission on Redistricting: An Inventory of Its Records at the Minnesota Historical Society, 1990-2003. Records and data files from this commission and its study of the redistricting plans submitted to the commission and the judicial panel.
Minnesota Supreme Court Special Redistricting Panel 2001 - Documents considered by the panel, including Final Orders, Plans and Submissions filed.
Redistricting 2000 - Information from the Minnesota Legislature's Geographic Information Systems Office. Website includes link to the 2002 Legislative Districts, as well as the 2002 Congressional Districts.
Redistricting Issues Area and Redistricting Case Summaries, 2000 - From the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Additional Library Resources
For historical information, check the following codes in the Newspaper Clipping File and the Vertical File:
- A34 - Apportionment, A34.4 (Apportionment - Legislative MN)
For additional reports at the Legislative Reference Library, use these Library catalog searches:
Apportionment (Minnesota); Redistricting (Minnesota).
For further information on redistricting see: