Supporters of a constitutional amendment that would take control of redistricting from South Dakota legislators and give it to an independent commission hope to put the amendment before voters in 2018, a key supporter said Thursday. Attorney General Marty Jackley this week filed an explanation of the amendment with the secretary of state’s office, a step required before petition gatherers can spread out across the state. Supporter Rick Weiland, a former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, said the plan — a reprise from 2016 — would make elections fairer in South Dakota.
“Why would we allow elected politicians, why would we afford them the opportunity to draw their legislative district?” Weiland said. “It just doesn’t make any sense. When you have complete one-party domination, you’re going to get one-party dominated redistricting efforts.”
Redistricting is the process of redrawing electoral district boundaries every 10 years to account for population changes. When the process is carried out by elected officials, it often sparks lawsuits and claims of gerrymandering — attempting to draw the districts for political advantage.