Scenic Montana 3 The Vault

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Montana currently has one congressional district, but come the 2022 election, we're gaining another.

So, the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission met this week to talk about proposed district lines.

They narrowed down 230 maps submitted by the public to nine to five submitted by the democratic side of the commission and four submitted by the republican side.

The republican maps all have the same thing in common which is diving the state into east and west.

The democratic maps varied but generally combined Missoula, Butte, Bozeman, and Helena into a southwestern district and they added Kalispell to the east.

"Our goal is to produce a map that abides by Montana's laws and constitution and accurately reflects a map that Montanan's will be proud of and represents the interests of our state," said Dan Stusek, commissioner on the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission.

Overall, they want to narrow these nine maps down to one, and they need your help to do it.

They are looking for public comment and they want you to use your knowledge of Montana to define the lines that make the most sense.

"Montana's commission and commissioners read all of these comments and do care and your opportunity to weigh in is now," said Stusek.

They're looking at all different kinds of input and if you look at the maps, most of them are split pretty equal in terms of population - coming down to the person on some maps.

"There are requirements and law in our Montana constitution on how you divide this that are mandatory. And then there are criteria that are maybe goals or are discretionary," said Stusek.

The commission is made up of two members chosen by Republican leaders in the Montana Legislature and two by the Democrat leaders in the Legislature.

"None of us are public officials but we're all appointed by the party's and the legislature," Stusek.

They also have an independent/non-partisan as a chair selected by the Montana Supreme Court.

Neither the republican nor democrat members voted to move the other's maps forward, so the chair broke the ties and moved all nine plans ahead.

"This will be this way for the next 10 years and will likely set a precedent for the next 20, 30, 50 years and what this looks like for Montana and what our values are," said Stusek.

To view the maps, click here.

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