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Redistricting Will Bring Change to Oregon
Democrats will have to do a balancing act

According to the US Constitution, a census shall be taken every ten years. This is described in Article I, Section 2.

The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative.

Once this is done -- and it should be done in the spring of this year -- the Oregon Legislature is set with the task of redrawing all the State House, State Senate and US Representative Congressional districts. What makes the process more fun this year is that Oregon is all but certain to get a 6th Congressional District. We currently have five. Article IV, Section 6 of the Oregon Constitution contains more specific instructions on redistricting, or as it's called, apportionment.

Apportionment of Senators and Representatives; operative date. (1) At the odd-numbered year regular session of the Legislative Assembly next following an enumeration of the inhabitants by the United States Government, the number of Senators and Representatives shall be fixed by law and apportioned among legislative districts according to population. A senatorial district shall consist of two representative districts. Any Senator whose term continues through the next odd-numbered year regular legislative session after the operative date of the reapportionment shall be specifically assigned to a senatorial district. The ratio of Senators and Representatives, respectively, to population shall be determined by dividing the total population of the state by the number of Senators and by the number of Representatives. A reapportionment by the Legislative Assembly becomes operative as described in subsection (6) of this section.

Democrats are in charge of the Legislature and barring some kind of internal division, they will draw a map that favors their fortunes. Elections have consequences. That's how it's done. The Legislature just draws a map and passes it as a bill. If they fail to do so, the job goes to the Secretary of State, and inevitably, there will be some lawsuits that get heard in the Oregon Supreme Court, but when the dust settles, we'll have new districts that reflect changes in population.



Speculation runs wild about what the Congressional map of Oregon will look like. To many, it seems like Central Oregon should get a district. Bend is the fastest growing city in the state, with no end in sight. Some think that the coast, long divided as appendages into three different Congressional Districts should be one district. After all, people in Astoria tend to be like those in Newport as well as Coos Bay.

Democrats will have to decide if they are willing to weaken the 4th and 5th Congressional Districts, currently held by Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader, respectively. The voter registration is close in both districts. No matter how you slice it, the result of redistricting will create as much opportunity as it creates controversy.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2021-01-02 20:53:06Last Update: 2021-01-02 21:22:03

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