Minnesota Special Redistricting Panel c/o Bridget Gernander Clerk of Appellate Courts 305 Minnesota Judicial Center 25 Rev Dr Martin

Luther King Jr Blvd Saint Paul MN 55155 October 21, 2011 To the Members of the Special Redistricting Panel: I appreciate the work that you have already done in regard to the extremely important process of redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional lines in the event the Governor and Legislature cannot reach an agreement. I have been involved with an organization called “Draw the Line Minnesota,” as the organization’s vice chair. Our chair, Candi Walz, testified before the Panel at your hearing in Saint Paul. Based on my experiences with Draw the Line over the past several months, I urge the Panel to reject the map submitted to the Panel by Draw the Line because the map drawing process was secretive and flawed and ultimately resulted in a partisan map that fails to reflect the objective demographic shifts that have occurred in Minnesota over the past decade. I think that because of its high number of incumbent legislator pairings and because it pairs only Republican members of Congress, the map is too likely to benefit the Democratic Party. I am especially concerned that we commission members were not allowed sufficient time or access to the map to critique it objectively or to determine its implications before we were led to approve it. All of the Citizen Redistricting Commission members of Draw the Line came to the organization with individual perspectives and with the lofty goal of fixing what many claim is a “broken” redistricting process and of showing that a non-legislative commission system could work in this state. My interest in the process stems from my work as a manager in the US Census Bureau’s Duluth District Office in 1990 and from my work as the communications and voter outreach director and contractor for the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office from 1999-2009. While I believe our commission did good work in agreeing on a set of principles for redistricting and in trying to get the public involved in the process, I am concerned that the process used in producing a map was ultimately no better than the State Legislature’s process. I know that I am not the only commission member to think this way. In a documented email sent to all commission members and staff, another commission member (of unknown political affiliation) voiced concern over the commission’s process, when he was stifled from discussing map alternatives in the last of our meetings. I quote directly from the email here: My biggest disappointment was that there was really only one map produced for the commission to consider. That map followed the existing district lines with adjustments for population. There should have been different maps showing different geographic alignments of the districts. Then the committee could have examined the maps and determined the map that it thought best achieved its principles via democratic participation. As it was, we were presented three variations with all districts

geographically aligned in the same manner in all three variations. The differences were merely marginal and trivial when compared to the potential. The overall orientation of that map never changed. What was a good map was predetermined by the committee's agent with limited tweaking resulting from input by some committee members… With one map, the committee had only one choice. That, of course, is not a choice. And the false claim that it was a committee drawn or even a committee guided map, I could not in good conscious endorse… The other virtue of multiple maps presented to the committee would be that the committee could then have an open debate about the shape of the maps. We could openly and transparently debate about how to “draw the line.” Despite the committee's purported dedication to be open and transparent, the most important part of the map drawing process—the map drawing itself—was notably not open and not transparent, even to the committee members. It was done in private, “behind closed doors” as Draw the Line's website puts it, by one or two persons with occasional contributions by some committee members. This is no improvement over the legislature. The result speaks for itself. The committee's website says the system is broken. The map the committee ultimately endorsed is substantially similar to the map that the broken process produced ten years ago. That is a severe indictment against the committee's work in the committee's own terms. Again, I believe our commission promulgated a good set of principles. Yet I would not want the Panel or the public to think that the map submitted by the commission constitutes the best map possible or the best map under your review. Indeed, the chair of our commission has said publicly that our map is not perfect. We agree that if a commission process is to be used in the future, we must learn from this year’s activities. Maps are captivating. They are impressive and persuasive just by virtue of their pictorial nature. Yet our commission has said time and time again, and especially after analyzing our map’s high number of “pairings” of legislators, that our principles could fit many maps, and I hope the Panel will not be persuaded that our commission’s map is the best at applying our own principles, especially inasmuch as it was rushed through production and exposed to little critique or tweaking. I would note that, if you take our commission’s principles and apply them in an honest, nonpartisan way to the map passed by the Legislature, I think you will conclude, as I have, that the Legislature did a great job and produced a nice map. Moreover, one could conclude, especially on the Congressional District level, that the Legislature’s map actually does a better job of adhering to our commission’s principles than our own map does. Beyond my concerns about having only one, minimally critiqued map to consider, I have other concerns about Draw the Line, having to do mainly with the credibility and transparency of the commission’s products. As one of only two “known” Republicans (the other besides me being Anne Mason) on the commission of 15 members, I constantly stressed the need to verify that everything done by the commission was done in a nonpartisan way. Such verification was never made possible, and I really believe such verification was necessary in order to ensure the integrity of our deliberations.

My concerns about our commission’s credibility are grounded by several points and are shared by other commission members who have spoken with me individually.

I believe the political leanings of some involved with and directing the actions of Draw the Line were problematic. The involvement of TakeAction Minnesota was of particular concern to me. TakeAction Minnesota is a liberal interest group that spent almost $200,000 on Independent Expenditures in 2010 against Republicans or in support of Democrats. The involvement of Common Cause was also of concern to me. While Common Cause supposedly stepped back from involvement with our commission once it was started, it is difficult to believe that there was no influence. Even the involvement of the League of Women Voters, with its liberal policy agenda, was of concern to me. There was a great deal of cross-pollination among these liberal special interest groups but no attempt to cross-pollinate with conservative groups. I do not believe that the appointment of a couple of known conservatives to the commission for the purpose of window dressing suffices in providing a balance or a cross-check. In addition, I think it is problematic that the people doing the real work for the Panel’s consumption did not represent the political diversity of our state. David Wheeler, the program coordinator, is a former Duluth City Council member and is currently an elected member of the Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation, who was endorsed for political office by numerous DFLers including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, State Senator Scott Dibble (DFLMinneapolis), Duluth Mayor Don Ness and several Minneapolis city councilmembers. In addition, the mapping specialist who was hired at the last minute (Linden Weiswerda) and whom we originally thought was independent and nonpartisan turns out to have worked for President Obama’s campaign in 2008. Here, the staff clearly missed an opportunity to provide a sort of check-and-balance within our process—they easily could have found a Republican-leaning mapping specialist. While our mapmaker was a undoubtedly a hardworking individual, he ultimately had to make decisions on Draw the Line’s legislative map that the majority of our commissioners did not have time to examine, change, or weigh in on. Decisions about how to draw the map, about what criteria to emphasize in drawing the map, and about publicity and messaging about the map were determined heavily behind the scenes, by staff. Commission members were asked in a hurried way to consider and approve materials. Several of us had a “trust, but verify” attitude about the arrangement, thinking that there would be an opportunity to get independent verification that the numbers used to determine political indices of the final map were legitimate, yet there ultimately was no opportunity for verification of the work. Even when our map and report were set, they were “embargoed” until today, the very last minute to send materials to the Panel, and thus they were not open to public comment, scrutiny, or criticism. This was especially problematic, I think, for a process that was billed as being transparent—it clearly was not transparent.

I do believe our commission did some good work and learned some things to consider in the future. I hope the Panel will take seriously the set of principles that our commission promulgated and apply those principles to any map under consideration, because any number of maps could very well reflect an excellent application of the principles. I also hope that the map put forward by our commission, as compelling and interesting as its pictorial nature might make it, does not have undue influence in the Panel’s deliberations, for it and the method by which is was developed deserve to be scrutinized in ways that they have not been to this point.

Again, I urge the Panel to reject the map submitted by Draw the Line because the map drawing process was secretive and flawed and ultimately resulted in a poor map. Sincerely,

Kent Kaiser, Ph.D.

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