At least 16 states progressed in either proposing, advancing, or enacting new congressional and state legislative districts maps as part of the 2020 redistricting cycle between Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, 2021.
California: On Nov. 10, five days before its deadline, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission released its first draft maps of the state’s Assembly, Senate, congressional, and Board of Equalization districts. The release of these drafts began a two-week moratorium, during which time the commission may not display any other new maps for public comment.
The commission will continue to hold meetings and line drawing sessions and may release new draft maps towards the end of November or in December. The commission has until Dec. 23 to display its final maps, which must be delivered to the secretary of state by Dec. 27.
This is the second redistricting cycle California has utilized a non-politician commission for redistricting. Voters in the state approved a ballot measure in 2008 creating the 14-person commission made up of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four members who are unaffiliated with either major party.
Florida: The Florida Senate Committee on Reapportionment released four draft maps of the state’s congressional and state Senate districts. Due to population growth, Florida was apportioned 28 congressional districts, up from the 27 it was apportioned following the 2010 census.
The House and Senate Committees on Reapportionment are holding interim meetings throughout the fall with the redistricting process set to officially begin at the start of the next legislative session on Jan. 11, 2022.
Tennessee: On Nov. 15, Democratic lawmakers released a congressional redistricting plan. Republican lawmakers have not yet released any proposed maps. Scott Golden, chairman of the Tennessee GOP, said the pace was normal and that legislation would most likely be released in January 2022.
Georgia: On Nov. 12 and 15, the Georgia State Legislature approved maps redrawing the state’s 180 House districts and 56 Senate districts, respectively, sending the proposals to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) for final approval.
Democratic lawmakers said the proposals were partisan gerrymanders. State Rep. Bee Nguyen (D) said, “We are a 50-50 state … This map creates a 60-40 split with the advantage given to the Republican Party for the next 10 years.” Republican lawmakers said the maps met the required redistricting criteria and were created in a transparent fashion. State Rep. Bonnie Rich (R), chairwoman of the House redistricting committee, said, “Georgians have requested transparency and yes, we have given them transparency.”
Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Stephen Fowler said the proposed House map would create 97 Republican-leaning districts and 83 favoring Democrats. Fowler said the Senate map would likely elect 33 Republicans and 23 Democrats. Republicans currently hold a 103-77 majority in the House and a 34-22 majority in the Senate.
Ohio: On Nov. 15, Republican lawmakers in the state House and Senate released a joint congressional district map proposal. On Nov. 16, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 24-7 along party lines to approve the map.
Under congressional redistricting rules approved by Ohio voters in 2018, without bipartisan support, the proposed map may only be in effect for four years rather than the typical 10-year period. A congressional map must be supported by three-fifths of the legislature, including one-third of the minority party’s membership, in order to last for 10 years. Otherwise, a map can be enacted by a simple majority, but only apply for four years.
Ohio lost one congressional seat, leaving the state with 15 congressional districts, down from the 16 it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
South Carolina: The House Judiciary Committee voted 21-2 in favor of approving a new map of the state’s 124 House districts on Nov. 16. The Judiciary Committee received the proposal from a seven-member redistricting committee—four Republicans and three Democrats—which previously approved the map by a 7-0 vote. The Herald’s Zak Koeske wrote that the proposal splits 33 counties, creates two more Republican-leaning districts, and places ten incumbents—six Democrats and four Republicans—into districts with other incumbents. It will now advance to the full House for a vote.
Wisconsin: The Republican-controlled State Assembly voted to approve new state legislative and congressional maps in a 60-38 party-line vote on Nov. 11. The Senate previously approved the maps on Nov. 8 with a 21-12 party-line vote.
Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D) said the maps were a partisan gerrymander, saying, “It is not normal in a 50-50 state to have 64 seats drawn to be more Republican.” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said the maps met the criteria required for redistricting, saying, “It is the duty of the state Legislature laid out in our Wisconsin Constitution — not appointed commissions or the executive branch — to draw legislative districts.”
Prior to their passage, Gov. Tony Evers (D) said he would veto the proposals and ultimately did so on Nov. 18, sending redistricting to either a state or federal court depending on ongoing court cases.
Washington: The Washington State Redistricting Commission missed its Nov. 15 deadline to approve final congressional and state legislative maps to submit to the state legislature. Under state law, the redistricting authority now passes to the Washington Supreme Court, which has until April 30 to develop new district lines.
On Nov. 16, after missing the deadline, the commission released its approved congressional and state legislative district lines. While these lines do not carry any authority, the commission asked the state supreme court to use those agreed-upon lines when carrying out its newfound redistricting duties.
Four states—Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah—enacted new congressional maps between Nov. 10 and 17. Idaho, Nevada, and Utah also enacted new state legislative district maps along with Alaska, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
As of Nov. 17, 14 states had finished their congressional redistricting and 20 had finalized their state legislative districts.