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January 22, 2020 Testimony by George Beck to the House Subcommittee on Elections

My name is George Beck. I am Chair of Minnesota Citizens for Clean Elections and a former Chair of the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board.

Clean Elections supports a comprehensive and accurate census in Minnesota and one that is fully funded to support that goal. We need to be sure that we maximize the return of funds from the federal government that we paid in in taxes.

Another significant purpose of the census is to allow us to draw fair maps through redistricting the year after the census. These legislative and Congressional districts will be in effect for ten years.

Maps can be drawn an unfair manner as happened in Wisconsin in 2011, which resulted in a political party with 40% of the statewide vote ending up with 60% of the seats in the Assembly. That’s called gerrymandering, of course, and it is a violation of our ideal of “one person, one vote”.

It’s been noted that legislators have a conflict of interest in drawing maps of their own district or drawing maps to favor their political party. We are asking you to involve the public in this process by accepting advice from a commission composed of citizens.

The public is familiar with legislative conflicts of interest having created an independent commission to set legislative salaries. That constitutional amendment passed with over 70% of the vote. Public commissions to advise the legislature have strong public support.

We urge you to adopt new redistricting reform this session based on HF 1603, that you passed last session. This is our last chance to impact the districts that will be in place for our elections until 2031.

Thank you.

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