Last reviewed June 2019
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 2010 Census was held on April 1, 2010 and according to the Minnesota's State Demographic Center's Census 2010 page, Minnesota's population was 5,303,925. While this marked a population increase since the last census, the rate of population growth in Minnesota was less than in some other states. Minnesota retained its eight congressional districts after the 2010 census was complete, the same number the state has had since 1960.
The Legislature convened on January 4, 2011. The next week, a lawsuit was filed Wednesday, January 12, 2011 in U.S. District Court as Audrey Britton, et al. v. Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State of Minnesota, et al. (No. 11-CV-93) over the state's redistricting process. The suit asked for an order to intervene in the redistricting process, alleging that the current district boundaries, in effect since 2002, discriminate against high-population districts and that the Legislature can't be expected to produce a better result this year. This lawsuit was later voluntarily dismissed.
Another lawsuit was filed on January 21, 2011 in Minnesota's Wright County District Court as Sara Hippert, et al v. Mark Ritchie, Secretary of State of MInnesota, et al. (No. 86-CV-11-433) which alleged that the congressional and legislative districts were unconstitutional based on the 2010 census.
In March of 2011, the Minnesota Legislature received U.S. Census data for Minnesota and the process of creating congressional and state legislative districts began. Minnesota's nonpartisan Legislative Coordinating Commission was responsible for assisting the legislature in carrying out its redistricting responsibilities under Minnesota Statutes, section 2.91. The Minnesota Legislature's Geographic Information Services Office posted a Redistricting Timetable for 2010-2012 as part of their Redistricting 2010 website.
The statutory deadline for establishing new congressional and legislative districts was February 21, 2012, twenty-five weeks before the August 14, 2012 primary election (Minnesota Statutes, section 204B.14, subdivision 1a).
The House formed a House Redistricting Committee and the Senate formed the Senate Subcommittee on Redistricting, a subcommittee of the Rules and Administration. The legislature reached consensus on the 2010 Redistricting Plans in bill form as HF1425 and HF1426. In May of 2011 the legislature passed a legislative redistricting plan (HF1425) and a congressional redistricting plan (HF1426), but the plans were vetoed by Governor Dayton: veto letter for HF1425 and veto letter for HF1426. The 2011 session adjourned without enacting plans for legislative and congressional redistricting.
In the Hippert v. Ritchie, No. A11-152 order on June 1, 2011, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea appointed five judges to a special redistricting panel. Throughout the fall, the judicial panel held public hearings, established redistricting principles, and planned that in the event that the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton fail to agree on a plan by February 21, 2012, the panel would then draw the lines itself. The redistricting principles were established in the November 4, 2011 Order Stating Redistricting Principles and Requirements for Plan Submissions.
At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, without a final agreement between the Legislature and Governor, the five-judge panel ordered the adoption of a legislative redistricting plan and the adoption of a congressional redistricting plan and released the state's new redistricting maps. The 2012 maps are posted on the Legislative Coordinating Commission's Geospatial Information website: 2012 Legislative District maps and 2012 Congressional District maps.
The Legislature adjusted a few boundary lines in Laws of Minnesota 2013, chapter 131, article 2, sections 1 and 2. The Metropolitan Council plan for district boundaries was established in Laws of Minnesota 2013, chapter 66.
Legislative Meeting Materials
2010 Redistricting Plans - The Minnesota Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Office Web page with Legislative and Congressional plans.
Minnesota House of Representatives Redistricting Committee 2011-2012 - Use the meeting links to see meeting minutes and audio.
Minnesota Senate Rules and Administration Subcommittee on Redistricting 2011-2012 - Use the 2011 - 2012 Senate Minutes page to see unofficial meeting minutes and see the Media Files page for audio.
Subcommittee on Redistricting - The Legislative Coordinating Commission's Subcommittee expired January 1, 2011 and has not been re-established by the Legislative Coordinating Commission, however meeting minutes and a list of members can be found on their website.
Significant Books and Reports
Specific to 2010
Draw the Line: Final Report. Minnesota: Citizens' Redistricting Commission, 2011. (JK6168.D73 2011)
Redistricting Law 2010. Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2009. (KF4905.R42 2009)
Wattson, Peter. History of Minnesota Redistricting. St. Paul: Minnesota Senate, Office of Senate Counsel and Research, 2010. (JK6168 .W39 2010)
Wattson, Peter. How to Draw Redistricting Plans That Will Stand Up in Court. St. Paul: Minnesota Senate, Office of Senate Counsel and Research, 2010. (JK1341.W382 2010)
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)
Boese, Brandon L. "The Controversy of Redistricting in Minnesota." William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 39: Issue 4, Article 10, 2013.
Schaul, Kevin, et al. "Minnesota's 2012 Congressional Districts." MinnPost, February 21, 2012. [Includes a customizable map that shows current districts and three partisan plans for the state's congressional district.]
Schultz, David. "A Short History of Redistricting in Minnesota." Politics in Minnesota, December 7, 2011. (Ask your librarian for access to the article.)
Schutz, Lee Ann. "A Push Here, a Bubble There: State Redistricting is a Balancing Act That's Not Often Easy." Session Weekly, January 21, 2011.
Shaw, Charlie. "Redistricting Has Been a Mess in Each of the Past Four Decades." Politics in Minnesota, October 6, 2010.
Lahammer, Gene. "Congressional Redistricting Anguish Has Long History in Minnesota." Politics in Minnesota, January 29, 2010. (Ask your librarian for access to the article.)
Significant Internet Resources
Census 2010 - From the U.S. Census Bureau.
Census 2010 - From the Minnesota State Demographic Center. The center analyzes and distributes data from state, U.S. Census Bureau and other sources.
Districting Principles for 2010 and Beyond - NCSL's webpage compares districting principles, or criteria, used by each state as it redrew legislative and congressional districts following the 2010 Census.
Historical Legislative and Congressional Maps - From the Minnesota Geographic Information Systems Office.
Redistricting - The National Conference of State Legislature's resource for information on the process, law and technology necessary for redistricting. See also their State Redistricting Websites page.
Redistricting 2010 - Information from the Minnesota Legislature's Geographic Information Systems Office. Website includes link to the 2012 Legislative Districts, as well as the 2012 Congressional Districts.
Redistricting Resources - League of Women Voters: Minnesota web page with useful websites on redistricting and its reform and key reports.
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:
- 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: