DES MOINES — Iowa State Sen. Ken Rozenboom said the no vote he cast against the second redistricting proposal was to protest a process he feels can be improved.
Rozenboom said Friday he feels Iowa's nonpartisan redistricting is a good process that can be further improved. He was the only no vote in the Iowa Senate. Two Republicans in the Iowa House also voted in opposition.
The new maps approved are part of the once-a-decade process to establish new congressional and legislative boundaries in connection with the decennial census.
"I don't think a 4% change in Iowa's population justifies the wholesale, drastic changes to legislative districts that the [Legislative Services Agency] provided," he said in an email. "I believe the changes could have been much simpler, and should have factored in the current districts in some way."
That would require a change to Iowa Code Chapter 42, which prohibits current districts being taken into account. Rozenboom hopes the legislature will look at making that change before the next time the state goes through the process.
Iowa's redistricting system has earned broad acclaim in the nation for its nonpartisan nature.
Maps are drawn by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency after receiving data from the U.S. Census. The legislature approves the maps, but can't offer changes other than of a technical nature until the third round of maps. This decade's process took two drafts by the LSA before they were approved overwhelmingly in a special session.
From the current state legislative maps to the new ones, 20 sitting senators are drawn in districts together and 38 sitting house members are drawn together.
Rozenboom was drawn in with fellow Republican Adrian Dickey, which will force one of the two to concede or move, or to face off in a primary.
Rozenboom said his district is a good example of what he takes issue with, while adding he could just as well spend his winters on an Australian beach with his grandchildren.
"While this is most certainly not about me, my district changes provide a good example of what I mean," he said. "My old Senate District 40 was carved up three ways, with 75% of my constituents now in two open districts. Other districts also had well over 50% of constituents separated from the senator they last voted for, and I don't think that's necessary."