Prof. Justin Levitt's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

North Dakota

State Summary

North Dakota has only one congressional district.  State lines are drawn by the legislature, as normal legislation.

In the 2010 cycle, North Dakota’s legislature enacted state legislative districts (HB 1473) on Nov. 9, 2011.

A 2020 ballot initiative attempting to change the redistricting process was rejected by the state courts, for impermissibly incorporating the text of another statute by reference.  [Haugen v. Jaeger, 948 N.W.2d 1 (N.D. 2020)]

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Seats:

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
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Institution

North Dakota has only one congressional district.

North Dakota state legislative lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

Timing

The legislature’s constitutional deadline for producing plans is the end of the first regular session after the census;  that session began on Jan. 5, 2021, and is currently scheduled to end on Apr. 28, 2021.  [N.D. Const. art. IV, § 2]  However, in the 2011 session, the legislature passed plans in a special legislative session, after this deadline.  Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by Apr. 11, 2022. [N.D. Code §§ 16.1-11-01, -06]

North Dakota does not appear to prohibit redrawing these lines at any point mid-decade, before the next Census. [N.D. Const. art. IV, § 2]

Public input

The legislature has not yet announced any specific plans or guidelines for public input.

Criteria

Like all states, North Dakota must comply with constitutional equal population requirements; by statute, the legislature has also required that state legislative districts be populated as nearly equally “as is practicable,” with deviations “kept at a minimum.” These latter statutory requirements may be altered by the legislature.  [N.D. Const. art. IV, § 2N.D. Code § 54-03-01.5(5)]

North Dakota must also, like all states, abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

The North Dakota constitution further requires that districts be contiguous and compact. State legislative districts are, by definition, nested; one Senator and two Representatives are elected from each district.  [N.D. Const. art. IV, § 2N.D. Code § 54-03-01.5(5)]

2010 cycle

North Dakota’s legislature enacted state legislative districts (HB 1473) on Nov. 9, 2011.

It appears that the plan was not challenged in court.

2000 cycle

North Dakota’s legislature enacted state legislative districts (SB 2456) on Nov. 30, 2001.

It appears that the plan was not challenged in court, though the ability of the legislature to truncate a sitting state Senator’s term due to redistricting was challenged in state court; the challenge was denied. [Kelsh v. Jaeger, 641 N.W.2d 100 (N.D. 2002)]

Redistricting Cases in North Dakota

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North Dakota | State Supreme | Process
Haugen v. Jaeger
State court struck redistricting initiative from ballot b/c incorporated other statute by reference
Last Updated Aug 25, 2020
Case Number

No. 20200213 (N.D. S. Ct.)

Cycle 2020