Ho-Chunk Nation Redistricting Now Underway

By Lynette LeGarde

It’s that time again!! The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature has started the redistricting process.  It is the constitutional duty of the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature to complete a redistricting process every 10 years.  The last redistricting process happened in 2008.  The district lines cannot stay the same and they must change per the Constitution.  The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature would like to include as much tribal member participation in this process.  
The following documents are applicable to the redistricting effort and can be used by tribal members.  If you are interested in submitting redistricting scenarios they can be sent to Jeff Crone at the Ho-Chunk Nation Legislative Office.  His email address is Jeff.Crone@ho-chunk.com or you can mail them to HCN Legislative Office, Attn: Jeff Crone, P.O. Box 667, Black River Falls, WI 54615.
The Ho-Chunk Nation Legislative Office will accept new district scenarios until April 13, 2018 at 4:30 pm (Central Time). The Legislative Workgroup has met twice and set a tentative timeline for the redistricting process.
Please include a written narrative/explanation that provides details about the submission. It will make it easier to select and consider the scenarios. Tribal members can submit as many scenarios as they like.  Submissions will be accepted from tribal members only. 
Thank you and we look forward to see what everyone comes up with.  We will let you know of more details about this process as they become available.  Please use the following documents to create your possible district scenario.  Good luck and we look forward to your submissions!



As indicated in Article V, Section 4 of the Ho-Chunk Nation Constitution, the goal in redistricting is to move the Nation’s Legislative representation closer to the goal of “one-person/one-vote.”  The Legislature has gone through this effort at various times in the past.  The Nation’s Tribal Court has stated that the Legislature does not have to use the best plan to promote the objective of one-person/one-vote, but any plan that furthers that objective. 

If any tribal member is interested in proposing a new scenario map for the Nation’s Legislative Districts, they will need to use a certain formula.  The Nation’s Tribal Court has evaluated the legality of past redistricting proposals based on a calculation of ideal representation ratios.  See the example below:

Step 1:  Calculate the Ideal.  Based on the number of eligible voters (age 18 and over) residing in    each proposed district, a calculation needs to be made to arrive at the ideal number of    tribal eligible voters per Legislator.  For example, let’s say the total number of eligible    Ho-Chunk voters are 5011 and there are 13 Legislators.  To get the “ideal” number of    adult members per Legislator, you would divide 5011 by 13.  That number is 385.46.     This means the “ideal” scenario would have approximately 385 adult tribal members per    Legislator. 

Step 2:  Calculate for each District.  In drafting any new boundary scenario, calculate the total    adult Ho-Chunk population in the proposed district.  Next, divide that number by the total   number of Legislators proposed for that district.  For example, say District 1 had an adult    Ho-Chunk population of 1,052 and 3 Legislators.  Doing the math, 1052 divided by 3    equals 350.66. Rounding up, this means there would be 351 adult tribal members per    Legislator in proposed District 1.  

Step 3:  Calculate the deviation from the Ideal.  This is the amount or percentage by which a    District’s population varies from the “ideal” population of tribal members per Legislator.    The percentage is the difference between the actual population in a given District (say    351 in our example) and the “ideal” population, then divided by the “ideal.”  This will tell   you the percentage deviation from the “ideal.”

Step 4:  The calculations in Steps 1-3 will need to be done for each district proposed.  For    example, if someone wants to propose 5 districts with 13 Legislators, but re-draw the    boundary lines, then the formula above will have to be applied to each proposed district    (keeping the “ideal” number in mind).  Or, if someone wanted to propose only 3 districts,   with 13 Legislators, then the same approach must be used. Also, if a new proposal was to    change the number of Legislators to 11, for example, the “ideal” calculation would    change.  Note: It is very difficult to reach the “ideal” number for each district.  It is okay    to have some districts that deviate from the “ideal” by a few percentage points above or    below the “ideal.”  But, if there is a large difference between district representation, then    that does not follow the one-person/one-vote standard when comparing one district to    another. 

Any proposed redistricting scenarios will be evaluated by the Legislature, since it is the Legislature that must submit a final proposal to a vote of the People by a Special Election.  See Article V, Section 4 of the Ho-Chunk Nation Constitution.  The Legislature’s determination as to what final proposal to submit for a vote will be impacted by the Constitutional analysis that goes into the pursuit of one-person/one-vote representation. 


Below are some brief guidelines with respect to creating your Redistricting Scenarios.  These points are based on the Ho-Chunk Nation Constitution, past precedent, and rulings by the Nation’s Tribal Court: 

• Article V, Section 4 of the Ho-Chunk Nation Constitution states: 

“The Legislature shall have the power to redistrict or reapportion including changing, establishing, or discontinuing Districts.  The Legislature shall maintain an accurate census
for the purposes of redistricting or reapportionment.  The Legislature shall redistrict and reapportion at least once every ten (10) years beginning in 1995, in pursuit of one-person/one-vote representation.  The Legislature shall exercise this power only by submitting a final
proposal to the vote of the People by Special Election which shall be binding and which shall
not be reversible by the General Council.  Any redistricting or reapportionment shall be completed at least six (6) months prior to the next election, and notice shall be provided to the voters.”

• The last Special Election for Redistricting took place on November 18, 2008.  At that time, the voters of the Nation approved the Legislative Districts that are in place now.  Since Redistricting must take place at least every ten years, the Legislature is going through the process now, with the aim of conducting a Redistricting Special Election in 2018. 

• The Legislature may submit more than one redistricting scenario for a vote by the electorate, but it must be part of a final proposal. 

• Redistricting may not be gradually phased in over multiple general elections.

• The Legislature may change, establish, or discontinue districts.

• A scenario may not be proposed that keeps things the same.

• Any redistricting plan must have more than one district. 

•   A redistricting scenario may decrease or increase the number of current districts. 

• Remember, the goal of redistricting is to pursue one-person/one-vote representation of tribal members.  In crafting scenarios, you do not have to use the very best plan to achieve the goal.  Rather, any plan that moves the Nation closer to that goal is sufficient.  A Redistricting Scenario is constitutional if it moves the Nation closer to the goal of one-person/one-vote.  For further explanation and guidance on how to craft any new scenarios, see the handout entitled “FORMULA FOR REDISTRICTING.” 

If you want to submit a proposal or idea for Legislative Redistricting, feel free to contact the following:

Jeff Crone
Legislative Policy Analyst
Ho-Chunk Nation Legislature
P.O. Box 667
Black River Falls, WI 54615

Thank you.