2020 Census battle won

Note: I have been writing articles about the 2020 Census since early last year. The response by Hennepin County was great, and for that, I thank all that participated!

Minnesota wins 26 to 89 over New York! 

No, this is not a sports event score. This is the margin of difference between U.S. Census results needed to maintain the number of congressional seats/districts in the United States House of Representatives.

If 26 Minnesota residents hadn’t responded to the census, our state would have lost one congressional seat. Or if 89 more New Yorkers had responded to the Census, New York would not have lost one of their congressional seats. But that didn’t happen – and Minnesota will continue to have eight U.S. Representatives, and New York will drop from 28 to 27.

Responding to the U.S. Census (once every 10 years) is important. And here’s why:

The map (pictured) shows the current boundaries of the current congressional districts in Minnesota. The district lines will be redrawn to provide a “voice” in Congress based on Minnesota’s population. There are laws for redistricting in Minnesota that are aimed at making districts “fair.” That means that the boundaries can’t cut through the middle of a block, or separate communities into various districts that will ignore their concerns and goals.

An example of unfair districting looks like this:  If a housing complex has 10 buildings on one city block and each building houses 100 families and each family has 2 eligible voters- hang in there – I won’t make you do the math!

2 voters x 100 families = 200 voters

200 voters x 10 buildings = 2000 voters

If all of the residents on this block are concerned about the lack of public transit in their neighborhood, or the freight trains blocking three intersections between I-94 and Osseo Road for 15 minutes at a time (oops – my personal frustration!), then 2000 votes might get the representatives attention. Unfair districting would be lines drawn like a big X on the block, separating the buildings into separate voting districts. Their collective “voice” is muted. 

It’s important to understand that the district lines need to divide the state into eight equal population pieces. Therefore, it will happen in some neighborhoods where the people across the street are voting at a different place than your side of the street. It happens in most cities in the Twin Cities metro area and is not by itself unfair. 

Therefore, the challenge in states like Minnesota is the population density in the Twin Cities and surrounding counties, which account for five of the state’s eight congressional representatives. The Representatives in the Twin Cities must be available to a larger population on a daily basis, but their travel area is relatively limited as they can hold town halls and speak at large functions. The other three representatives have extensive areas to traverse because the counties they cover are primarily farmland, wilderness areas, etc. These Minnesota residents have concerns that need to be heard in D.C.

This may not feel relevant today, but for our Camden Community residents, our Representative in Washington, D.C. needs to understand and represent the diversity of our residents – age, color, religion, gender, education, talents, business/industries, goals, concerns, etc. Do not make the mistake of thinking your voice will not be heard. Your email, phone call, letter, or virtual chat should be heard – especially if you and your neighbors have shared concerns. Be the one to share your views with our Representative.

For the Camden Community, we live in the 5th U.S district:  our current U.S. Representative is Ilhan Omar: Omar.house.gov.