Redistricting is only once in a decade; League of Women Voters encourages all voters to ensure the process is fair, open and accessible.

The state of North Dakota has a once-in-a-decade opportunity to ensure that when our legislative district lines are re-drawn, the process happens in a fair, open and accessible manner.

The League of Women Voters of North Dakota encourages North Dakotans to get ready to pay attention and take a part in the legislative redistricting process that happens later this year. With the session of the North Dakota Legislature finishing up and the release of preliminary Census decennial counts this week, the time is now to get ready. There will be a short timeframe in which to take the data obtained in the Census and prepare the districts for the 2022 elections.

There are actions the Legislative Redistricting Committee can take to ensure a transparent process, including holding meetings or public hearings throughout the state and calling for reasonable public comment periods for proposed maps.

The members of the legislature could have increased transparency by releasing all draft maps and reports on a publicly accessible website, but instead, they voted to exempt drafts of redistricting plans from open records requirements. So, as citizens, we need to ensure that we are watching and taking part in all possible parts of the process.

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New district lines can be drawn to intentionally decrease voters' power based solely on their political party. We join with other LWV members working for processes that eliminate partisan and biased protection of incumbent legislators. Please join us by working to ensure the public's voice is heard, and that the redistricting process is fair and transparent.

Jan Lynch is president and Mary C. Tintes is vice president of the League of Women Voters of North Dakota.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.