The latest state, congressional redistricting news

Welcome to the Wednesday, November 10, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. The latest redistricting news
  2. The cities that voted to adopt ranked-choice voting
  3. SCOTUS agrees to hear three new cases

Congressional and state legislative redistricting update

Here’s where congressional and state legislative redistricting efforts stand as of Nov. 9. 

Here are the most recent state updates. 

  • The states that most recently enacted congressional district maps are: North Carolina (Nov. 4), Alabama (Nov. 4), Iowa (Nov. 4), and Colorado (Nov. 1). 
  • The states that most recently enacted state legislative district maps are: North Carolina (Nov. 4), Alabama (Nov. 4), and Iowa (Nov. 4). 

Georgia: The Georgia General Assembly convened for a special session focused on redistricting on Nov. 3. Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan (R) said he expected lawmakers to approve legislative maps quicker than congressional maps. “[State legislative maps] will be more straightforward. The congressional ones will be a little more involved,” Dugan said.

New Hampshire: On Oct. 26, Senate Redistricting Committee Chairman James Gray (D) announced the Senate will not begin considering map proposals until city officials in Nashua have finished redrawing ward lines. Gray said he expects the Senate to begin deliberations on proposed maps in late January 2022. The House Redistricting Committee, however, is expected to recommend proposals this year, with Rep. Barbara Griffin (R) saying the committee plans to make final map recommendations to the legislature on Nov. 16 or 17, 2021. 

Ohio: The Ohio Redistricting Commission did not meet its Oct. 31 deadline to draw and approve a congressional map. That responsibility now falls on the General Assembly. Dan Tierney, a representative for Gov. Mike DeWine (R), said the delayed release of U.S. Census Bureau data “essentially took five months out of the process” and did not leave sufficient time for the commission to draft and debate new congressional districts. The General Assembly must now draw and approve a new map by Nov. 30, 2021. For any map to be put in place for a full ten years requires support from at least a third of the members of the minority party, and any approved plan that does not meet this threshold will only be effective for four years.

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Voters in three cities approved ranked-choice voting measures on Nov. 2 

On Nov. 2, voters in Ann Arbor, Mich., Broomfield, Colo., and Westbook, Maine approved ballot measures to use ranked-choice voting (RCV) for mayor and city council elections. Westbrook’s measure also extends RCV for school committee elections.

RCV is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. A candidate who wins a majority of first-preference votes wins the election. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated. A new tally is then conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

  • Ann Arbor is the third city in Michigan to adopt RCV.
  • Westbrook is the second city in Maine after Portland to enact RCV. 
  • Broomfield is the fifth city in Colorado to adopt RCV.

Two states—Maine and Alaska—have adopted RCV for statewide elections, both through citizen initiatives. Jurisdictions in eight states use RCV for their elections. Another six states have jurisdictions that had adopted, but not yet implemented, RCV in local elections.

Earlier this year, voters in Austin, Texas, and Burlington, Vt., approved ranked-choice voting ballot measures.

We covered 33 races on Nov. 2 that were decided using RCV, including the Minneapolis mayoral and city council races.

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SCOTUS accepts three cases for argument during the 2021-2022 term

On Nov. 5, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) accepted three additional cases for argument during its 2021-2022 term, bringing the total number of cases for this term to 48.

The three additional cases are:

  1. Ruan v. United States (Consolidated with Kahn v. United States)
  2. Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Health Benefit Plan v. DaVita, Inc.
  3. Egbert v. Boule

Of the 48 cases the court agreed to hear during its 2021-2022 term, three cases were dismissed, and one case was removed from the argument calendar. Fifteen cases have not yet been scheduled for argument. To date, the court has issued decisions in two cases, both of which were decided without argument.

SCOTUS began hearing cases for the term on Oct. 4, 2021. The court’s yearly term begins on the first Monday in October and lasts until the first Monday in October the following year. The court generally releases the majority of its decisions in mid-June.

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