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Re-districting Could Create Unique Political Scenarios

Iowa is preparing for the process of re-aligning and re-apportioning representative districts for the 2012 elections, an action that will begin in January. Dr. Andrew Green, assistant professor of Political Science at Central College says the process is directed by a five-person advisory commission that is comprised of two Republican and Democratic members, which select a fifth member as their chairperson.

“This advisory commission is going to provide advice and guidance to the Legislative Services Bureau on issues related to redistricting. They will also serve as a liaison to the public on redistricting matters,” says Green. “Once the Legislative Services Bureau creates the proposal, it will then go back to the legislature for approval and the governor for a signature, and then take effect in 2012.”

Dr. Green adds that the re-apportioning and redistricting process could potentially create some interesting scenarios in the 2012 election year.

“Depending upon how those districts are drawn – not only at the congressional level, but at the state legislative level – we could have a situation where Marion County is placed in a district where two incumbents might face off in either a primary or in the general election,” adds Green. “It’s going to be dependent upon how those district lines are drawn, based upon population shifts and how other political subdivisions currently are drawn.”

All states are required to re-apportion their representative districts every ten years as the result of several Supreme Court decisions made in the 1960s to maintain the integrity of equal protection and the idea of “one person, one vote.”