Welcome to the Wednesday, January 26, Brew.
By: Samuel Wonacott
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Federal court blocks Alabama’s congressional redistricting plan; Mississippi enacts new congressional map
- Up next in filing deadlines: Alabama, West Virginia, and New Mexico
Federal court blocks Alabama’s congressional redistricting plan; Mississippi enacts new congressional map
Here’s the latest redistricting news.
On Jan. 24, a unanimous three-judge federal court panel blocked Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) from holding the state’s 2022 congressional elections using the redistricting plan the state adopted on Nov. 4, 2021. The panel delayed the filing deadline for U.S. House candidates, moving the date from Jan. 28 to Feb. 11 to give the Legislature time to redraw the map.
A spokesperson for Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) said, “The Attorney General’s Office strongly disagrees with the court’s decision and will be appealing in the coming days.”
Four sets of plaintiffs challenged Alabama’s new congressional districts for violating Section Two of the Voting Rights Act. Ruling on one of those lawsuits, Milligan v. Merrill, the unanimous panel said the plaintiffs are “substantially likely to establish that the Plan violates Section Two of the Voting Rights Act.” The panel also said plaintiffs could likely show that “Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress.”
The judges directed the Legislature to devise a congressional redistricting plan “that includes either an additional majority-Black congressional district, or an additional district in which Black voters otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.”
The panel’s three members are Senior Judge Stanley Marcus of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and District Court Judges Anna Manasco and Terry Moorer. Marcus was first appointed to a U.S. district court judgeship by President Ronald Reagan (R) in 1985 and to the 11th Circuit by President Bill Clinton (D) in 1997. Manasco and Moorer were appointed as federal judges by President Donald Trump (R) in 2020 and 2018, respectively.
In the 2022 election cycle, three states have rescheduled their original candidate filing deadline—Alabama, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
On Jan. 24, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed the state’s congressional redistricting plan. Mississippi was apportioned four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census.
After the state Senate approved the plan, Lee Sanderlin wrote in the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, “The bill preserves the current balance of congressional power in Mississippi, keeping three seats for Republicans and one for lone Democrat Bennie Thompson, D-Bolton.”
Currently, 26 states have adopted congressional district maps, one state has approved congressional district boundaries that have not yet taken effect. State or federal courts have blocked maps in two states. Six states were apportioned one congressional district (so no congressional redistricting is required), and 15 states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans. As of Jan. 25, 2012, 32 states had enacted congressional redistricting plans.
Congressional redistricting has been completed for 271 of the 435 seats (62.3%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Up next in filing deadlines: Alabama, West Virginia, and New Mexico
The 2022 primary season is off and running! Kentucky’s statewide filing deadline—the second of the 2022 primary season—was Jan. 25 (Texas’ deadline was Dec. 13, 2021). Looking ahead, the number of filing deadlines will increase each month through March, and then start to decline as states begin holding primary elections.
Here’s what’s next for filing deadlines:
Alabama: Alabama’s statewide filing deadline was originally scheduled for Jan. 28. However, as we mentioned in the story above, a federal court recently moved the filing deadline for U.S. House candidates from Jan. 28 to Feb. 11 to give the Legislature more time to redraw its congressional district map. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) said he would appeal the decision. Currently, the filing deadline for state executive and state legislative candidates is still set for Jan. 28, but Marshall has not said whether he intends to keep the deadline.
West Virginia: West Virginia’s statewide filing deadline is scheduled for Jan. 29. The deadline applies to U.S. House candidates and state legislative candidates. The state does not have any U.S. Senate or state executive offices up for election this year.
New Mexico: New Mexico’s statewide filing deadline is scheduled for Feb. 1. The deadline applies to U.S. House candidates, as well as candidates running in state House races. The deadline also applies to candidates running for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and several other state executive offices. New Mexico is not holding regularly scheduled U.S. Senate or state Senate elections.
Ohio: Ohio’s statewide filing deadline is Feb. 2 for U.S. Senate, state legislative and state executive candidates, and March 4 for U.S. House candidates. Ohio is holding elections for several state executive offices, including governor, lieutenant governor, and secretary of state.
Following Ohio, the statewide filing deadline for candidates Indiana, Nebraska, and Maryland will pass on Feb. 4, Feb. 15, and Feb. 22, respectively.
#WednesdayTrivia: How many states require a simple majority to override gubernatorial vetoes?
In the Tuesday Brew, we looked at how the Kentucky General Assembly recently voted to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of the state’s state legislative and congressional maps. In Kentucky, a simple majority vote from both chambers is all that is required to override a gubernatorial veto.
How many states require a simple majority to override gubernatorial vetoes? Select an answer below to see how you did!