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2020 census used for drawing congressional and legislative districts will be released next Thursday. The data will cover geographies as small as neighborhoods and as large as states. The information was supposed to be released at the end of March but was pushed back to August to give bureau statisticians more time to crunch the numbers which came in late because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With the new data the work to draw Montana’s new congressional district will begin in earnest soon. The state had two seats in Congress for nearly all of the 20th century but lost one after the 1990 census. Districts one and two roughly cut the state west and east between the mountainous part and the plains. Rob Saldin political science professor at the University of Montana says there’s no requirement to split the state between west and east but the expectation is the new line will be similar to the one drawn three decades ago.

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