State renews request to toss lawsuit over redistricting
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota has renewed its request to throw out a federal lawsuit brought by two Native American tribes that allege the state’s new legislative map dilutes tribal members’ voting strength.
The state said in court papers filed Thursday that it denies allegations by the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and the Spirit Lake Tribe.
U.S. District Judge Peter Welte dismissed the state’s argument earlier this month that the tribes lacked the standing to sue.
The Republican-controlled Legislature during its special session last fall approved a new map of legislative districts, based on updated census data. The map includes the new House subdistricts for the Fort Berthold and Turtle Mountain Indian reservations.
Turtle Mountain argues the split House district “packs” tribal members into a single subdistrict on its reservation, while diluting their vote in the non-reservation subdistrict. Spirit Lake alleges the new redistricting map dilutes American Indian voters on and near its reservation.
The case could go to trial next year if no resolution is reached, according to court filings.