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Panel OKs draft North Dakota legislative redistricting map

BISMARCK (AP) — A panel of lawmakers on Thursday substantially completed a draft of North Dakota’s new legislative map that creates three new districts in the state’s fastest-growing areas but erases an equal amount in population-lean rural regions.

The preliminary plan unanimously approved by the Republican-controlled committee also forces several incumbent lawmakers to run against each other to keep their jobs, including the Democratic Senate minority leader and the GOP House majority leader.

Finley GOP Rep. Bill Devlin, chairman of the committee, said the panel of 14 Republicans and two Democrats will return to the Capitol twice next week to “tweak” the plan and consider dividing up an oil-rich Indian reservation into separate House districts.

The redistricting plan was drafted over the past several weeks. The task was required due to population shifts shown by the 2020 federal census.

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