Oregon legislators set to vote on redistricting map starting Monday morning

SALEM, Ore. — Starting tomorrow the Oregon legislature is beginning its special session to adopt a new congressional district map.

The Oregon Constitution requires the state to look at redistricting every 10 years.

“What we are doing here is to draw districts and the representatives, state senators, and U.S. congresspeople who represent those districts will be there for the next 10 years, so it’s really important work and it’s fundamental to democracy,” said Ashland democratic State Rep. Pam Marsh.

Legislators were expected to vote on the map on July 1st but census results were delayed due to the pandemic.

Ideally, the map needs bipartisan support.

“The question really now is can we come together in agreement on these maps? And if we don’t, the drawing of those maps will go to different venues,” said Rep. Marsh.

If a decision on the map isn’t made by September 27th, then the Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, will draw the maps for the house and senate districts. A panel of Oregon judges would draw maps for the congressional districts.

“You’re not supposed to look at partisan splits, you’re supposed to look at communities of common interest and I believe that party [democratic] was definitely considered when this map was drawn,” said Medford republican Representative Kim Wallan. She says a majority of Oregonians are unaffiliated voters.

Rep. Wallan believes the democrats’ map doesn’t represent them.

“I think there needs to be quite a bit of additional discussion about it, there has been a lot of testimony and I don’t believe that map is responsive to that testimony that’s been gathered around the state, I think there’s a lot of problems with that map,” Rep. Wallan said.

Rep. Marsh thinks differently.

She says 22 public hearings were held and over 2,000 comments were filed for the redistricting map drafts, which republicans and democrats each submitted.

“I’m pretty positively impressed by those maps. I think they did a good job of trying to draw like communities together,” Rep. Marsh said.

The session begins approximately at 8 A.M. Monday morning.

You can watch it live on oregonlegislature.gov

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