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League of Women Voters backs approval of Iowa redistricting Plan 1

DES MOINES — The League of Women Voters of Iowa is calling on the Iowa Legislature to approve Plan 1 for redistricting.

Maps proposing new boundaries for Iowa’s congressional and legislative districts were released last week. Terese Grant, president of the League of Women Voters of Iowa, said the plan does an incredible job of reflecting the population shifts that occurred in Iowa over the past decade.

“We need to encourage our legislators to vote to adopt this plan…when they convene in special session on October 5,” she said. “We need to continue to be the ‘gold standard’ for the rest of the country.”

Grant testified Tuesday during one of three public hearings on the plan. In the 1970s, the League of Women Voters of Iowa joined the successful legal challenge that led to the unique process Iowa uses for redistricting after every Census. Amy Campbell, a lobbyist for the League of Women Voters of Iowa, said the process is “messy” and “partisan” in most other states.

“I’m so proud to be in Iowa…I do trust our legislature to do the right thing and look at the overall fairness of the maps that were drawn,” Campbell said during today’s public hearing.

A dozen people have testified at the two public hearings that have been held on the redistricting plan and all urged legislators to approve the first plan that’s been released. If lawmakers reject it as well as the second plan developed by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, the Republican-led legislature could choose to make changes to a third plan. John Hale, the owner of a consulting firm in Ankeny, said Plan 1 reflects the “significant” population shifts that have occurred in Iowa, with 68 of 99 counties losing population from 2010 to 2020.

“Those we elect can’t praise the process of redistricting at one moment and at the next moment discard the process because they don’t like the result or are seeking another map that gives greater advantages to a particular political party or a person,” he said.

Ryan Crane, who spoke at Monday’s public hearing, said Plan 1 for redistricting is based on the data. “(I’m) just really, really encouraging folks not to turn this into a partisan matter, not to go political with this, not to kind of blow up the process,” he said.

Crane said if Republicans who control the legislature make changes and adopt a third plan, that would generate negative headlines for Iowa. Since Iowa’s redistricting law has been on the books, the legislature has approved plans drawn up by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency in 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011.

A third public hearing on the first redistricting plan is scheduled for Wednesday night.

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