TagRedistricting

Four states release proposed redistricting maps between Sept. 15 and 22

Four states— Alaska, Arkansas, Texas, and Washington— released proposed redistricting maps between Sept. 15 and 22.

Alaska: The Alaska Redistricting Board adopted six proposed state legislative maps at its Sept. 20 meeting: two prepared by the board and four proposed by third-party organizations. The board originally released its two proposals on Sept. 9 but replaced those proposals with two revised versions at the latest meeting. At the same time, the board approved maps designed by:

  • Coalition of Doyon, Ltd., Tanana Chiefs Conference, Fairbanks Native Association, Sealaska, and Ahtna
  • Alaskans for Fair and Equitable Redistricting (AFFER)
  • Alaskans for Fair Redistricting (AFFR)
  • The Senate Minority Caucus

The Alaska Democratic Party also proposed a map, but it was not adopted by the board. According to Board Chairman John Binkley (R), the board will now begin a public meeting tour around the state to discuss the six proposed maps with attendees before making its final decision.

View the proposals here.

Arkansas: The House and Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committees met jointly for the first time on Sept. 20 to discuss proposed maps for the state’s four congressional districts. Between Sept. 9 and 15, three legislators— Reps. Nelda Speaks (R), Jack Ladyman (R), and David Whitaker (D)— introduced congressional redistricting proposals. 

The Sept. 20 meeting was the first of three for the joint committees and it was set up to consider proposals introduced before Sept. 17. The remaining two meetings were scheduled for Sept. 23, to consider maps proposed by Sept. 21, and Sept. 27, to consider maps proposed by Sept. 24. According to earlier reports, the Arkansas State Legislature will reconvene on Sept. 29 to deliberate.

In Arkansas, the legislature is responsible for congressional redistricting while a separate Board of Apportionment is responsible for state legislative redistricting. That board consists of the governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.

View the proposals here.

Texas: The Senate Redistricting Committee released a draft of a Senate legislative map on Sept. 18, making it the first proposed map released during the state’s 2020 redistricting cycle.

Members of the Senate Redistricting Committee will hold public hearings on two proposed bills— SB 4 and SB 7— on Sept. 24 and 25. SB 4 deals with state Senate districts and SB 7 deals with State Board of Education districts, which are also redrawn following the census.

View the proposed map here.

Washington: The state’s four voting Redistricting Commissioners each released proposed state legislative maps on Sept. 21. These maps will be the subject of a virtual public meeting on Oct. 5. Members of the public are invited to participate. The deadline for the commission to finalize its state legislative district map is Nov. 15.

In Washington, congressional and state legislative lines are redrawn by a five-person non-politician commission. The majority and minority leaders of the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives each appoint one registered voter. These four appointed commissioners then appoint a fifth, non-voting member, to serve as chair.

View the proposals here.



Ohio Redistricting Commission approves new state legislative maps along party lines

The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved new state legislative district maps by a 5-2 vote early in the morning on Sept. 16. The two Democratic members of the commission, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D) and state Sen. Vernon Sykes (D), were the two dissenting votes. Since the map was approved along partisan lines, it will only last for four years, rather than ten, as outlined in the 2015 constitutional amendment creating the commission.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R), a member of the commission, estimated that the new maps would create 62 Republican seats and 37 Democratic seats in the House, and 23 Republican seats and 10 Democratic seats in the Senate. Cleveland.com reported that Democrats on the commission agreed with the Senate estimates, but said the new House map would create 65 Republican seats and 34 Democratic seats.

A statement from the commission explaining the manner by which districts were allocated said: “The Commission considered statewide state and federal partisan general election results during the last ten years. There were sixteen such contests. When considering the results of each of those elections, the Commission determined that Republican candidates won thirteen out of sixteen of those elections. […] Accordingly, the statewide proportion of districts whose voters favor each political party corresponds closely to the statewide preferences of the voters of Ohio.”

Following the enactment of the maps, Huffman released a statement saying: “These house and senate maps will be in place for the next four years, and represent an important first step towards approving the next map that will complete the decade. […] I’m convinced we could’ve reached a ten-year map. However, special interests pressured democrats to not support it, asking voters to extend the deadline to accomplish that.”

Leading up to the vote, Emilia Sykes disapproved of the maps as overly partisan, saying she would “call it offensive and plain wrong to move forward this map […] to put forth something that so arrogantly flies in the face of what people, our voters, asked us to do, not once, but twice.”

Commission members Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) expressed disapproval of the maps and said they expected court challenges to follow their vote. DeWine said: “Along with the secretary of state I will vote to send this matter forward but it will not be the end of it. We know that this matter will be in court. […] What I am sure in my heart is that this committee could have come up with a bill that was much more clearly constitutional.”

Click here to view images of the maps and read more about redistricting in Ohio following the 2020 census.

Additional reading:



Redistricting Roundup: Ohio Redistricting Commission approves state legislative redistricting maps by party-line vote

Here’s a summary of the week’s noteworthy redistricting news from Iowa and Ohio, and authorities in seven states released draft congressional or legislative maps:

Ohio: The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved new state legislative district maps by a 5-2 party-line vote on Sept. 9. If the Commission files those maps with the secretary of state, they would be effective for four years since they passed without support from two commissioners from each party. 

This is the first state legislative redistricting conducted under Ohio’s Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment that voters approved in 2015. The Commission consists of the governor, state auditor, secretary of state, and four members of the state legislature —two from each party. Maps drawn by the commission are valid for 10 years if at least two commissioners from each major political party vote for them. Should the maps be passed along strictly partisan lines, the maps are valid for two general elections of the state House of Representatives.

The deadline for the Commission to adopt final state legislative maps was Sept. 15. The Ohio Supreme Court has jurisdiction over all cases involving state legislative redistricting.

Iowa: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 14 that they were extending the deadline for state legislative redistricting to Dec. 1 due to delays in receiving data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Court said because the process would not be complete by the state’s Sept. 15 constitutional deadline, it was exercising its responsibility and authority over redistricting. The Iowa Legislative Services Agency has said that the Iowa Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission would release the first draft of proposed state legislative district maps on Sept. 16.

Nationwide: Redistricting commissions or state legislative committees in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, and Nebraska all released draft congressional or legislative maps.

Additional reading:



Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission releases first set of staff drawn maps

The Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission released its first set of staff-drawn maps for the state House and Senate on Sept. 13. The commission had released an initial set of proposed maps in June before the US Census Bureau released block-level population data in August.

On Aug. 13, the commission adopted a new redistricting schedule which set Sept. 13 as the commission staff’s deadline for publishing its first set of plans online. The adjusted schedule was published after the Colorado Supreme Court ordered on July 26 that the deadline for submitting the state’s legislative redistricting plans to the Colorado Supreme Court be extended from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

After the staff plans were released, David Pourshoushtari, a spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party, said, “the commission staff needs to understand the implications of drawing maps without taking into account the overlapping 4-year terms of state senators. Coloradans voted for fair redistricting when they approved Amendment Z, and this map does not meet that goal.” Executive director of the Colorado Republican Party, Joe Jackson, said that “this map will consistently elect a Democrat majority in the state House and state Senate. This process has a long way to go, and we hope the commission will work to generate more competitive districts.”

Colorado voters approved Amendment Z, which created the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission, in 2020 by a margin of 71% to 29%. A similar amendment was approved that year that created an independent commission for congressional redistricting.

Additional reading:



Redistricting Roundup: Illinois legislature enacts revised district boundaries for state House, Senate

Today’s redistricting roundup includes news from Illinois and Ohio.

Illinois

The Illinois House and Senate approved new state legislative boundaries on Aug. 31 during a special session. The maps, which passed 73-43 in the state House, and 40-17 in the state Senate, revised legislative redistricting plans enacted in June. The maps the state approved in June were drawn to meet the Illinois Constitution’s June 30 deadline for approving a state legislative redistricting plan and were adopted before the U.S. Census Bureau released block-level data from the 2020 census on Aug. 12. Click here to view the new state House map and here to view the Senate map.

Two lawsuits that were filed in federal district court challenging the June legislative maps were consolidated on July 14. The minority leaders of the Illinois House and Senate and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund argued that those redistricting plans did not ensure that the districts had substantially equal populations because they used data from the American Community Survey (ACS) instead of the 2020 census. The trial in the consolidated lawsuit is scheduled to begin on Sept. 27. 

Legislators have not yet proposed a congressional redistricting plan in Illinois.

Ohio

The Ohio Redistricting Commission met on Aug. 31 and decided it would hold three additional public hearings before approving proposed maps, as opposed to a single public hearing required by law. The Commission’s meeting follows 10 public sessions held in various locations across the state from Aug. 23 to Aug. 27.

The Commission did not approve new state legislative districts by its initial Sept. 1 deadline, and the final deadline for the creation of new legislative boundaries is Sept 15. Rep. Bob Cupp (R), a co-chair of the commission, said the late release of census data was the cause of the Commission’s delay and estimated maps would be formally proposed in 10-12 days. The Ohio Redistricting Commission is made up of five Republicans—including Gov. Mike DeWine (R)—and two Democrats.

Additional reading:



U.S. Census Bureau will release easier-to-use format of 2020 census data on Sept. 16

The U.S. Census Bureau will release data from the 2020 census in easier-to-use formats at data.census.gov on Sept. 16, the agency recently announced. The Census Bureau also said it would deliver DVDs and flash drives of the data to state legislatures and redistricting authorities on that date. It had previously announced that it would release this summary data by Sept. 30.

The Census Bureau released block-level data from the 2020 census in a legacy format on Aug. 12, which included county-level demographic information. That release allowed allows states to begin the process of drawing congressional and state legislative district maps.

The decennial census is mandated by the U. S. Constitution, and a census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. The 2020 census was the 24th conducted.

The Census Bureau was originally scheduled to deliver redistricting data to the states by March 30, but the process was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sixteen states have constitutional deadlines requiring that they complete their legislative redistricting this year, and eight have such deadlines to complete their congressional redistricting.

Additional reading:



Illinois legislature approves new legislative maps in special session

Photo of the Illinois State Capitol building

The Illinois House and Senate approved new state legislative boundaries on Aug. 31 during a special session. The maps, which passed 73-43 in the state House, and 40-17 in the state Senate, revised legislative redistricting plans enacted in June. The legislature approved maps in June in order to meet the state constitution’s June 30 deadline for approving a state legislative redistricting plan. They were adopted before the U.S. Census Bureau released block-level data from the 2020 census on Aug. 12.

Click here to view the new state House map and here to view the Senate map.

Two lawsuits that were filed in federal district court challenging the June legislative maps were consolidated on July 14. The minority leaders of the Illinois House and Senate and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund argued that those redistricting plans did not ensure that the districts had substantially equal populations because they used data from the American Community Survey (ACS) instead of the 2020 census. The trial in the consolidated lawsuit is scheduled to begin on Sept. 27. 

Legislators have not yet proposed a congressional redistricting plan in Illinois.

Additional reading:



Illinois Redistricting Update: Special session to be held on Aug. 31, motion for summary judgment filed

Photo of the Illinois State Capitol building

The Illinois House and Senate Redistricting Committees will hold special sessions on Aug. 31 to “amend the legislative map enacted in June to incorporate the latest Census data.” Lawmakers are holding public hearings ahead of the special session from Aug. 26-29.

The special session is coming after the release of 2020 census data on Aug. 12, and Illinois Senate and House minority leaders McConchie (R) and Durkin’s (R) motion filed Aug. 19 for summary judgment in the consolidated redistricting lawsuit, Contreras et. al. v. Illinois State Board of Elections. The motion argued that the maps signed by Gov. Pritzker (D) on June 4 are unconstitutional because they exceed the maximum 10% deviation permitted, with “29.88% [deviation] for House Districts and 20.25% for Senate Districts.”

Contreras et. al. v. Illinois Board of Elections was consolidated on July 14, from two separate lawsuits filed in June: one by minority leaders McConchie and Durkin on the 9th, and the other by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) on behalf of five registered voters (Contreras, Fuentes, Martinez, Padilla, and Torres).

Plaintiffs alleged that the new district maps did not have substantially equal populations because they relied on data from the American Community Survey.

The Illinois State Board of Elections and the offices of House Speaker Welch (D) and Senate President Harmon (D) filed a motion to dismiss on July 16, alleging the plaintiffs lacked standing and that until the Census Bureau released full data, there was no way to measure the validity of the plaintiffs’ equal protection arguments. On July 28, MALDEF attorneys filed an amended complaint, alleging that because Contreras, Fuentes, Martinez, Padilla, and Torres lived in the allegedly malapportioned districts, the maps would dilute their votes in future elections. As of Aug. 27, litigation on the case is ongoing. A trial was tentatively set for Sept. 27-29.

Additional reading:



Ten states to count prison inmates who are state residents in their pre-incarceration districts for redistricting this year

Eleven states have passed policies since 2010 requiring redistricting authorities to count prison inmates who are state residents at their pre-incarceration address, rather than in the community where their detention facility is located. Those policies will be in effect in ten states in the current redistricting cycle, while Illinois’ policy will not go into effect until 2025. President Joe Biden (D) won all 11 of these states in the 2020 presidential election.

These states differ on whether their policy for counting incarcerated persons in their pre-incarceration districts applies to legislative or congressional maps. Four states will count incarcerated persons at their pre-incarceration addresses for legislative maps only, and seven will count them at their pre-incarceration address for both legislative and congressional maps.

The states’ policies also differ on how out-of-state inmates and inmates with unknown previous residences are counted. Two states—Colorado and Virginia—count these people as residents in their correctional facility for redistricting purposes. Seven exclude this group from all district redistricting population calculations. Connecticut counts these inmates as generic residents of the state, and Nevada’s policies do not address the issue.

Federal inmates are counted the same as state inmates in six states, and are excluded from redistricting calculations in two states. Three states have not addressed how to count persons incarcerated in federal facilities for redistricting.

Additional reading:



Redistricting round-up: U.S. Census Bureau releases 2020 data necessary to begin the redistricting process (and other news)

Today’s redistricting round-up includes news from: 

  1. The U.S. Census Bureau was scheduled to release 2020 census data necessary for redistricting on Aug. 12
  2. Michigan, where an announcement about a potential legal counsel hire has drawn criticism
  3. New Jersey, where a congressional redistricting tiebreaker was chosen and the Secretary of State announced a date for the release of adjusted census data

U.S. Census Bureau releases 2020 data necessary to begin the redistricting process

The U.S. Census Bureau was scheduled to release 2020 census data on August 12, 2021. The data will include county-level demographic information on the ethnic, racial, and age makeup of neighborhoods across the country and will allow states to begin drawing district maps. The Bureau will release a complete tabulated version of the dataset on Sept. 30. In addition to drawing district maps, census data is also used by federal agencies and local governments in allocating funds and other planning and decision-making processes.

Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission announces it may hire Mark Braden and law firm BakerHostetler as legal counsel

On Aug. 6, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission announced it was considering hiring Mark Braden and law firm BakerHostetler as legal counsel. Braden was formerly chief counsel to the Republican National Committee and defended North Carolina Republican legislators in litigation about the redrawing of North Carolina legislative districts in 2017. Critics said hiring the firm would compromise the independence of the committee. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) tweeted “Friendly reminder that Michigan’s Independent Redistricting Commission is just that – independent,” and anti-gerrymandering author David Daley said the firm was “infamous for advising and defending some of the most egregious GOP gerrymanders of the last decade.” Committee spokesperson Edward Woods III said BakerHostetler was the only firm to submit a proposal: “We sent out two requests for litigation counsel. Unfortunately, no one responded the first time, and they are the only firm that responded this time. As always, we welcome and consider public input in making our decisions openly and transparently,” Woods said.

For more information about the current redistricting cycle in Michigan, click here.

New Jersey Supreme Court selects congressional redistricting tiebreaker

On Aug. 6, a majority of the New Jersey Supreme Court voted to select John Wallace, a retired New Jersey Supreme Court justice, to act as a tiebreaker on the congressional redistricting commission. His selection came after the 12 members of the state Congressional Redistricting Commission (six Democrats and six Republicans) did not agree on a 13th member by the July 15, 2021, deadline, meaning the decision went to the seven-member New Jersey Supreme Court. The court had until Aug. 10 to pick a tiebreaker.

New Jersey Secretary of State establishes date for release of adjusted Census data

On Aug. 9, Secretary of State Tahesha Way (D) said that she would release adjusted Census data within seven days of the Census data release on Aug. 12 to all members of the redistricting commissions and the public concurrently. Her announcement came after Republican leaders of New Jersey’s redistricting commissions submitted a request for clarification regarding the data.

On Jan. 21, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed S758 into law, which requires the Secretary of State to use Department of Corrections data to count incarcerated individuals at their last known residential address for the purposes of legislative redistricting, rather than the location of their incarceration at the time of the census. Legislative Apportionment Commission Republican Chairman Al Barlas and Congressional Redistricting Commission GOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt said in their request to Way that the Census Bureau’s use of differential privacy in the 2020 census would produce data inconsistent with DOC data, since “this statistical technique deliberately manipulates census data to assertedly protect the confidentiality of respondents by introducing ‘statistical noise; into both population totals and demographic characteristics.” In Way’s response, she said her office would be “guided by the duties set forth under the law concerning the reallocation of incarcerated individuals whether their previous address is known or unknown.”

For more information about the current redistricting cycle in New Jersey, click here.

Additional reading:

Redistricting in Michigan after the 2020 census

Redistricting in New Jersey after the 2020 census