BILLINGS - The Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission met to come up with new state legislative redistricting criteria.

Montana is one of 15 states that draws its U.S. House and legislative districts through an independent commission. Each district must be as equal in population as possible.

The Montana Republican Party released a statement Wednesday, saying the new guidelines allow Democrats to create districts that favor the party, even if they have a clear majority of Republicans.

However, the Democratic Party of Montana referred us to Joe Lamson, a member of the redistricting commission, who says no plan can be drawn to favor one political party over the other.

A political expert at MSU Billings also says no matter what happens with the districts, Republican voters outnumber Democrats.

"In Montana, the gap between Democrats and Republicans is pretty thin, so even if they make a district, at least in the first election, that seems more beneficial to Democrats. It's probably not going to stay that way. We just went through the 2020 election and Republicans mostly swept the state," MSUB Political Science Professor Paul Pope said.

New district lines have not been drawn yet, and the next commission meeting will be in August.

Republicans already control 67 of Montana's 100 House districts.

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