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Looking at how to split the voting districts

??The Modified Existing Plan

This plan works on adjusting the existing districts to account for shifts in population. The plan would put most of Havre and North Havre into one house district, which would put incumbent representatives of two districts, Kris Hansen of HD 33 and Wendy Warburton of HD 34, into the same district, HD 34. It would group Liberty with southern Hill and northwestern Chouteau County, while stretching what is now HD 34 into a new HD 35 from northern Hill through western Valley County, while leaving HD 32 similar to its current form.

Local residents can look firsthand tonight at proposals on how to set the legislative districts in Montana and how that will affect local voters and legislators.

?The Communities Plan

This plan would create the most compact districts, continuing to split Havre and keeping two legislative districts in the community, while creating a district including Liberty and Chouteau counties and part of Hill and Fergus counties. HD 32 would become more compact, while HD 34 would continue to include parts of Hill and Blaine counties.

The state Districting and Apportionment Commission that is proposing different ways to adjust voting districts to match population shifts in the state will hold a hearing at 7 tonight in the city court and city council chamber in Havre City Hall at 520 4th St.

?The Subdivision Plan

The plan based on using existing subdivisions and political lines would put Havre into its own district, also putting Hansen and Warburton into the same district. It would group most of Hill with Liberty and Chouteau counties, while stretching HD 30 from eastern Hill through part of Valley County, and leave what now is HD 32 in close to the same shape as new HD 33.

The commission adjusts districts every 10 years based on the last U. S. Census data, drawing 100 House districts of approximately equal population, with the House districts grouped together in pairs to form 50 Senate districts.

?The Deviation Plan

The plan based on staying as close as possible to the ideal population for each district also would create a single district in Havre, putting Hansen and Warburton in the same district, also leaving HD 32 close to its current shape and putting Toole, Liberty and northwestern Chouteau and southwestern Hill counties into a new disrict, with northern Hill, Blaine and Phillips counties, and a small slice of Valley County, making another.

The commission has set several criteria used in devising each of the five plans proposed, including keeping within 3 percent of the ideal population of 9,894 people for each House district and 19,788 for each Senate district; attempting to keep each district compact and contiguous, and protecting minority voting rights.

The Urban/Rural Plan

This plan also would put Havre in its own district, putting Hansen and Warburton into the same district, while leaving current HD 32 in a shape similar to its current form as new HD 23. HD 34 would become a stretched out HD 22, from northeastern Hill into Valley County, and a new HD 20 would include Liberty and western Hill and northern Chouteau counties and extend across eastern Cascade County.

Other discretionary criteria adopted by the commission are following the lines of existing political units; following geographic boundaries; and keeping communities of similar interests intact.


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