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Prison gerrymandering gives extra political power to legislators who have prisons in their districts. We put numbers on the problem and sparked a movement to protect our democratic process from the overgrown prison system.

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Washington County, Minnesota

According to the 2000 Census, Washington County, Minnesota has a population of 201,130 people. Of those, 188,317 (94%) are White, 3,689 (1%) are Black, and 3,892 (1%) are Latino[1]. However, 1,924 (or 1% of the 201,130 people) are not residents by choice but are people in prison.

Even though prisoners cannot participate in the local community, the Census Bureau nevertheless counts them as residents of the county where they are incarcerated.

A more accurate description would not include the prisoners. This would give Washington County a population of 199,206 with a demographic that is 94% White, 1% Black, and 2% Latino.

Reported in
Census 2000
Total 201,130 1,924 199,206
White 188,317 868 187,449
Black 3,689 729 2,960
Latino 3,892 132 3,760


[1]The numbers for Whites, Blacks and Latinos may not add up to the total number because we have not included racial groups other than Whites and Blacks and because the Census Bureau considers "Latino" to be an ethnicity, not a race. Most of the people reported as being Latino are also counted as being White or Black.

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