UPDATE: Fergus Falls resident explains why she's contesting Otter Tail County's new redistricting map
Court documents filed with the state show Teresa Mann of Fergus Falls filed a civil case with the board of commissioners on May 10. She is essentially asking commissioners to revise their recently-approved district map to improve compactness.
OTTER TAIL COUNTY — The redistricting map that was approved by Otter Tail County Commissioners in late April is being contested by a county resident.
Court documents filed with the state show Teresa Mann of Fergus Falls filed a civil case with the board of commissioners on May 10.
Commissioners held a closed session with Otter Tail County Attorney Michelle Eldien to discuss the court challenge, following their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 24.
In an interview with the Perham Focus on Tuesday, May 31, Mann said the reason for her opposition has to do with the districts not being compact enough. A requirement in creating a county district map is having a compact area, she said, and she believes the "hammer handle" that includes the townships of Ottertail, Amor and Maine, in District 4, breaks that requirement.
County commissioners had reviewed four other redistricting map options before ultimately approving a fifth option, which was drawn up and submitted by a county resident. Of those earlier, original options, Mann said maps three and four were compact and fit all the state statute requirements.
She is essentially asking the commissioners to revise the district map and improve compactness.
Mann said the next legal step is for the county to provide documents to the court. Then, she has the opportunity to send rebuttal documents (by Friday, June 3), after which the court would set a date to look into the matter.
Otter Tail County Administrator Nicole Hansen said in an email to the Focus last week that, “The matter is a pending court case, so no other comment at this time.”
Hansen did say that filing for office would continue as normal, using the redistricting map approved by the board in April. Some townships were moved into new districts under that new map. The deadline to file for office is Tuesday, May 31 at 5 p.m.
The recently-approved redistricting map was created by Vergas resident Marcia Huddleston . Her plan was the top choice, county commissioners said, because out of all the plans presented, Huddleston's offered the least amount of population difference — a difference of 657. The other plans being considered ranged from 899 to 1,162.
The redistricting process happens every 10 years to ensure residents are equally represented.
The case record can be found by clicking here and following the link for “Civil, Family & Probate Case Records,” then entering the court file number 56-CV-22-1045.