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Redistricting completed in Kandiyohi County, requiring early election in District 5

The Kandiyohi County commissioner district maps have been officially redrawn. The County Board approved the redistricting changes at Tuesday’s meeting. The changes will require an early election for District 5. District 3 was already up for election this fall.

Kandiyohi County Board April 5 2022.JPG
Kandiyohi County Administrator Larry Kleindl speaks to the County Board about redistricting options. The board approved making District 5 larger to better distribute the county's population across the five districts.
Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — While it is two years earlier than he had originally planned, Kandiyohi County Commissioner Duane Anderson, who represents District 5, has decided to run for re-election this fall.

Anderson was elected to the seat in 2020, meaning the position would normally have been up for election in 2024. That changed Tuesday when, after a public hearing, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved the new district boundaries.

"Part of the census is tracking where the growth is taking place," said County Administrator Larry Kleindl, who pointed out that the census includes mapping out where there has been population decline.

The 2020 census showed that the county grew to 43,732 people, meaning each commissioner district needs to have as close to 8,746 people as possible, for equal population distribution and representation.

District 1, 2 and 4 all fell within 5%, or 437 people, of the district average. Districts 5 and 3 did not. District 3 was over by 939 while District 5 was under by 991.

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"We had to come up with a plan to balance those out," Kleindl said.

The commissioners decided to go with the option that has District 5, which covers the southern half of the county, gaining St. Johns Township and the city of Pennock from District 3. That brings District 3 within 42 of the district average and District 5 would be within 94.

However, the transfer of those 897 residents from District 3 to District 5 was enough of a population shift to trigger an election based on rules laid out by state statute. District 3, currently represented by Rollie Nissen, was already up for election this fall.

"We want to have as little disruption as possible," Kleindl said.

The Willmar City Council approved changes to the city's council wards, brought on by the updated population count from the 2020 census. Small changes were made to Wards 1, 2 and 3. Due to population growth, 284 people from Ward 3 were removed and moved into Wards 1 and 2, to better evenly distribute council representation across the city.

There were no changes to the boundaries of District 4. District 1 gained both territory and about 284 people originally from District 2, caused by the city of Willmar's council ward changes. Those boundaries were approved by the Willmar City Council in late March.

The county has been working on its redistricting plans, in partnership with the city of Willmar, since January. A public input session was held in late February, to share with the public how the process was going. Only city and county staff worked on redistricting.

"There was no elected official involved in putting these maps together," Kleindl said.

The commissioners thanked Kleindl for all the work he and his team and those from Willmar did to complete the redistricting process.

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"This was really a team process," said Commissioner Corky Berg.

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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