Missoula County Redistricting - 2013
Every ten years, the State of Montana composes a commission charged with ensuring that each house district has equal representation based on the most recent census data. According to 2010 census data, Montana has a population of 989,415 people. Since the Montana House of Representatives currently has 100 representatives, each of the 100 districts must include approximately 9,894 people. Senate districts are required by the state constitution to be composed of two contiguous house districts. Each of the 50 senate districts must contain approximately 19,788 people.
At the county level, voters will see their house district number change due to restructuring house district boundary lines in keeping with 9,894 people per district. County commissioners in coordination with election administrators must adopt new precinct boundaries based on the number of registered voters within each house district and must also keep in mind the number of precincts for each district to ensure proper ballot rotation. (Ballot rotation ensures that multiple candidates in the same race have their name listed at the top of the contest an equal number of times.) Once the house district lines were adopted in Helena, election administrators had 45 days to redraw and adopt precinct boundary lines. March 27, 2013 the Missoula County Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 2013-24 to adopt new precincts in Missoula County. Voters could see a change in precinct name or polling place because of these changes, but the overall number of precincts was only reduced by one, from 52 to 51. In the months following, the Missoula County Elections Office corresponded with voters to inform them of the changes and mailed out new voter registration cards to all active voters. Precincts note the house district number in the precinct title to better assist voters in ascertaining their correct house district. The 2014 election cycle was the first time voters saw the impact of new precincts and house districts.