Iowa redistricting: Data expected Aug. 16, DeJear leaves temporary commission

By: - July 6, 2021 4:41 pm

A map of Iowa Senate districts for 2012 – 2022. (Courtesy of the Iowa Legislative Services Agency)

Iowa’s long-delayed redistricting process has almost reached its starting point.

The U.S. Census will send out data from its 2020 survey on Aug. 16. Ed Cook, senior legal advisor for Iowa’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, said Tuesday that while the data will be “in a less user-friendly format” than the formal data that’s scheduled for a late September release, it will still be usable for the redistricting process.

“The LSA intends to commence redistricting upon release of the data in August,” Cook wrote in an email.

The LSA and the Iowa Legislature will need to work quickly to draw and approve new district maps before a constitutional deadline of Sept. 1. Then, Gov. Kim Reynolds will have until Sept. 15 to approve to maps. Cook did not respond to a question about how long it might take the LSA to draw the maps.

As that process unfolds in Des Moines, the Temporary Redistricting Advisory Committee will hold hearings across the state to inform Iowans of the proposed legislative district changes.

Legislative leaders appointed the four-member Temporary Redistricting Advisory Committee in February. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats announced that Deidre DeJear, a 2018 candidate for Secretary of State, would be replaced on the commission by Jazmin Newton, a Davenport attorney who serves as the president for the League of United Latin American Citizens Council #10.

“The Iowa system is based on a simple principle: Politicians in Des Moines shouldn’t pick their voters,” Newton said in a press release. “I look forward to serving on the commission and listening to the feedback of Iowans when the new maps are drawn.”

In March, DeJear proposed Newton join the commission as the fifth and final member. The commission, stalled without census data, has not yet voted on a fifth member.

“When you think about the role of this specific commission and getting feedback from the community, Jazmin, of course, has a really strong tie with Latinx populations around the state because of the leadership that she has in the Latinx community,” DeJear said at the commission’s most recent meeting in March.

DeJear did not respond to questions about why she left the panel.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.