South Dakota’s Political Lineup
The state legislative deadline is December 1, 2001.
Who’s in Charge of Redistricting?The legislature. Usually the executive board of the legislative council will form a special redistricting committee to report out a committee bill. Preparations have not yet been made for the 2000 round of redistricting. The governor has veto power over the legislature’s plan.
The special redistricting committee usually holds hearings in the capital although they are not required by statute. Limited hearings are also held in the southwest and northern central portions of the state where large numbers of Native Americans reside. The legislature plans to use the Internet for public information purposes, but as of August 2000 has not made concrete plans.
Political LandscapeThe South Dakota legislature has a short session -- 40 days long -- that ended before the census figures were released in 2001. Thus, a special session will be called to consider the redistricting committee’s proposed legislative district plan. A common point of contention between Democrats and the Republicans who control the legislature is the use of multimember house districts. Multimember districts are not required by statute or the state constitution, but have been in place for a long time. Democrats strongly oppose them and usually offer their own district plan composed of single-member districts.
South Dakota will continue to have only one at-large U.S. House seat.
In March of 2000, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the state of South Dakota, which had eliminated two single-member state house districts with Native American majorities. Generally, house legislative districts in South Dakota are multi-member, with two representatives running at-large in each district. The state had converted the Native American single-member districts back into two-seat districts in the wake of the Miller v. Johnson ruling, which had limited the use of race in drawing district lines. The Department of Justice challenge has not been decided as of August 2000.
Irregularly Shaped District
Rueben B. Bezpaletz