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Legislature's routine redistricting, paired with shrinking legislature, raises questions

Legislator Linda Ervin, D-19th, was appointed to the commission by Stanczyk. Ervin and Elections Commissioner Ed Ryan were the only two Democrats and both voted against the proposal.

Ervin said she was disappointed by the way the commission was run and the districts it recommended to the legislature.

"We knew this was happening this year, and I thought throughout the year that we'd be doing some great things together," Ervin said. "The [census] figures came out and all of a sudden, here we are and it's done."

Ervin said she attended the three commission meetings that were held, but was given little insight into the process used to draw the new districts.

"They contend that they looked at the numbers, when I asked point blank 'why do we have this new district in DeWitt?' -- that district has pushed everything else west -- I received no answer," Ervin said, referring to the new district 7. "Clearly, it was created for someone."

Democrats also found fault in the April 13 public hearing on the commission's proposed reapportionment.

Stanczyk argued that there was no way input from the public that was heard Wednesday could be incorporated into the local law voted on Friday by the legislature.

"Local laws were on the desk. The public input could never be taken into account because it couldn't change the local laws that were on the desk," Stanczyk said.

He said the process "made a sham of the commission, and it made a sham of the public hearing."

But Rhinehart defended the commission's process, pointing out that the first proposal the commission reviewed was one submitted by Democrats.

"For anybody to say this was a closed process, that ideas were not exchanged -- it's just not true," Rhinehart said.

No time for questions

Walt Dixie, who spoke on behalf of the National Action Network at Friday's special session, was disappointed in how quickly the process went through the legislature and suggested it was the Democrats' duty to follow through on any objections they raised to the new district lines.

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