The Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission met last week and put forward two maps for public comment – CP-10 (Republican) and CP-11 (Democrat). In addition, there is a Call to Action and several various ways to help. As you read through the following, please make special note of preparing and submitting comments, registering virtually, and attending the Rally in person this coming Saturday (9 am) at the Capitol in Helena. *There is also a bus leaving from Kalispell for those who want to ride down (see information below.)
Ways you can help:
1. Submit your written comments by THIS WEDNESDAY, October 27th no later than 5 pm on the Interactive Maps. Comment your thoughts on each map.
Step By Step Process For Submitting Comments:
1. Go to the commission website to submit your comments HERE.
2. Click on the “Interactive Map” tab next to a map that you want to comment on. You will see either a red, green, or yellow dot of comments already made. You can also read comments off to the right.
3. Off to the right, click on the “Add Comment” button. Next, click anywhere on the map. It will bring up the form to fill out.
4. Click either Like, Dislike, or Opinion then, continue filling out the form with your name, address, email, and phone number. In the last box add your comments.
5. Then click ADD COMMENT to submit.
2. ALSO, submit your written comments on the website form HERE.
3. Rally together at the Capitol this coming Saturday, October 30th at 9:00 am as the Commission will be holding a public hearing on the two proposed maps put forward. The meeting will be taking place at the State Capitol in Room 102 and will begin at 9:30 am. You can find the full agenda for the meeting HERE.
4. Can’t the meeting be in person? Be sure to register to attend virtually no later than 5 pm on Friday, October 29th!
Sample comments for consideration, not intended to be all-inclusive, can pick and choose the points most important to you:
Map 10 – I like this map because it keeps Flathead County in the Western District. This is important because:
· It includes both the CSKT and Blackfeet Reservations in the Western District, allowing for a stronger voice for the tribes in the new western district
· It keeps the communities of interest in the West that are predominantly forest production and tourism together
· It keeps communities of interests centered on tourism and service industries together which are all shared between Glacier National Park, Kalispell, Whitefish, and Columbia Falls
· It keeps the growing ski tourism economy united within the Flathead Valley (Whitefish and Lakeside)
· It keeps the shared medical communities of Logan Health Medical Center (Kalispell and Whitefish) together, which provides medical services for the entire NW Region, including the Blackfeet Reservation
· It ties together the main watershed regions of the Western Divide counties in Montana for tourism, power generation, and mussel invasive species defense, which includes long scientific research and culturally connected major bodies of water
Map 10 – I like this map because it complies with Montana law and the Constitution
· Both districts are compact, contiguous, and nearly equal population
· Both districts include a Canada Interface, but this map keeps communities of interest together better than Map CP-11
Map 11 – I dislike this map because:
· For the first time ever in Montana history, this map splits a county West of the Continental Divide (Flathead) and puts it in an Eastern District
· Flathead County has zero political, economic, or cultural ties with the vast number of counties in the Eastern District
· Even though both districts include the Canada Interface, Map CP-11 separates the Canada Interface which brings Canadian tourists to Flathead and Blackfeet tourism spots
· It fails to keep communities of interest intact, such as forestry and tourism
· It creates a District with communities that share no interests between Western Montana and Eastern Montana
· It isolates one tribal community from all other tribal communities
· It a partisan attempt to split the Flathead along political lines
· It is not compact when a candidate for the Eastern District would have to travel vast distances to campaign in the Eastern District
General Comments –
· Although it is illegal to consider competitiveness, it is clear that the Commission will ultimately choose a map based on competitiveness. If that is the case, then the Commission should define competitiveness and agree on the standard that will be used to determine competitiveness
· Since this is a map that will determine two U.S. Congressional Districts, the best way to measure competitiveness is to use the U.S. House Races
· In determining competitiveness, the Commission should use races outside of 2020
The redistricting process will determine the political makeup of our state for at least the next decade, and possibly even longer. Your participation is CRITICAL. We need your help to fight the gerrymandering by Democrats.
Thank you for all you do and we look forward to seeing you Saturday, October 30th!
* There are approximately 20 seats open for those who want to ride down on a bus with other citizens from Flathead County. Please call Lauralee at 406-407-5639 to secure a seat.