TagRedistricting

Missouri’s 2022 legislative elections will be the first using new district maps

Missouri completed its legislative redistricting on March 15, setting in place district maps that will be in effect for the Nov. 8 elections. Missouri was the 43rd state to complete legislative redistricting. The state’s Judicial Redistricting Commission (JRC) filed the new state Senate district boundaries with the secretary of state, while the House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission unanimously approved the state House’s district boundaries in early January.

The JRC completed the senate redistricting process after the Senate Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission failed to submit proposed maps to the secretary of state’s office by the Dec. 23, 2021, deadline. Missouri Appeals Court Justice Cynthia Lynette Martin chaired the JRC.

Redistricting is the process of drawing new congressional and state legislative district boundaries that happens every decade following the release of U.S. census figures. Criteria for drawing legislative maps may vary from state to state, but most states impose requirements such as contiguity, compactness, consideration of communities of interest, or respect for political boundaries.

In the U.S., there are 7,383 state legislative seats and 435 congressional districts. New legislative district maps have been drawn for 1,709 of 1,972 state Senate seats (86.7%) and 4,504 of 5,411 state House seats (83.2%). New congressional district maps have been drawn for 365 of the 435 seats (83.9%) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Missouri has not completed congressional redistricting as of April 5, 2022. 

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Louisiana enacts new congressional district boundaries after legislature overrides governor’s veto

Louisiana enacted new congressional district boundaries on March 30 when the state legislature overrode Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto of legislation establishing the new districts. Louisiana was apportioned six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, the same number it received after the 2010 census. This map will take effect for Louisiana’s 2022 congressional elections.

The state Senate voted to override 27-11 with all ‘yes’ votes from Republicans and all ‘no’ votes from Democrats. The state House of Representatives overrode Edwards’ veto 72-32 with 68 Republicans, three independents, and one Democrat voting in favor and all votes against by Democrats. Governor Edwards had vetoed the congressional district map on March 9 that the legislature had passed on Feb. 18, saying in a statement, “it does not include a second majority African American district, despite Black voters making up almost a third of Louisianans per the latest U.S. Census data.”

Louisiana is the fourth state this cycle—along with Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland—where the legislature overrode the governor’s veto of redistricting legislation. All four states have divided government, where one party holds the governor’s office and the other controls both chambers of the state legislature.

Tyler Bridges, Sam Karlin, and Blake Paterson wrote in The Advocate that the approved map means “that Louisiana this fall will have five congressional districts favored to elect Republicans, while Democrats will have one – unless federal courts rule that the new map violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act and mandate new boundaries.”

After the legislature’s override vote, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R) issued a statement that said, in part, “Today, the overwhelming will of the Legislature was heard. House Bill 1 fulfills our constitutionally mandated duty to redistrict Congress. It also shows true legislative independence and a clear separation of power from the executive branch.”

In remarks made after the legislature overrode his veto, Gov. Edwards said, “I can’t imagine there is a more compelling case for the courts to look at and to overturn than in Louisiana. It’s not even close. I happen to believe it’s a very clear case of violating the Voting Rights Act.”

As of March 31, 39 states have adopted congressional district maps. One state’s map has been overturned by court action and four states have not yet adopted congressional redistricting plans after the 2020 census. Six states were apportioned one U.S. House district, so no congressional redistricting is required.

States have completed congressional redistricting for 383 of the 435 seats (88.0%) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Michigan’s congressional, legislative redistricting plans officially become law

Michigan’s new congressional and legislative district boundaries became law on March 26, 60 days after the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) published its report on the redistricting plans with the secretary of state. The MICRC had approved the state’s congressional map on Dec. 28, 2021, by a vote of 8-5. The vote approving the plan was supported by two Democrats, two Republicans, and four nonpartisan members, with the five remaining commissioners (two Democrats, two Republicans, and one nonpartisan member) in favor of other plans. As required, the adopted map was approved by “at least two commissioners who affiliate with each major party, and at least two commissioners who do not affiliate with either major party.”

Writing about the state’s congressional map, Clara Hendrickson and Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press said, “According to three measures of partisan fairness based on statewide election data from the past decade, the map favors Republicans. But those measures also show a significant reduction in the Republican bias compared to the map drawn a decade ago by a Republican legislature, deemed one of the most politically biased maps in the country. One of the partisan fairness measures used by the commission indicates Democratic candidates would have an advantage under the new map.”

The MICRC also approved new legislative district boundaries on Dec. 28, 2021. The vote on the state Senate map was 9-4 with two Democrats, two Republicans, and all five nonpartisan members supporting the proposal. The commission adopted a proposal for state House of Representatives districts by a vote of 11-2 with four Democrats, two Republicans, and all five nonpartisan members supporting it.

The MICRC was established after voters approved a 2018 voter-approved constitutional amendment that transferred the power to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts from the state legislature to an independent redistricting commission.

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Wyoming enacts new state legislative districts

Wyoming enacted new state legislative districts on March 25 when Gov. Mark Gordon (R) allowed a proposal approved by both legislative chambers to become law without his signature. The maps will take effect for Wyoming’s 2022 state legislative elections.

The Wyoming State Senate passed legislative redistricting plans on March 3, voting 20-10 to approve an amended version of the Joint Corporations, Elections, and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee’s proposal. The House rejected maps approved by the Senate in a 46-11 vote on March 8. Legislative leaders formed a committee of three representatives and three senators to resolve disputes over the proposals. The House passed the maps on March 11 in a 44-12 vote, and the Senate passed the maps in a 17-12 vote. The enacted proposal adds one Senate seat and two House seats to the state legislature.

Gordon said of the new maps, “I feel very comfortable with my neighbors being in the district they’re accustomed to shopping in, going to the feed store, or selling their cattle. So from that perspective I think it was a good solution.” Senate Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss (D) said “we basically ran out of time. It’s kind of like when you’re out of time and you have to submit your homework and here we are. But at the end of the day it isn’t living to the standards and obligations we were supposed to be putting forward.”

As of March 29, 43 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers and one state has adopted maps for one legislative chamber. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked previously enacted maps in one state, and four states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of March 25, 2012, 43 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,772 of 1,972 state Senate seats (89.9%) and 4,654 of 5,411 state House seats (86.0%).

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New Hampshire enacts new state house map

New Hampshire enacted new state house districts on March 23, 2022, when Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed a proposal approved by both legislative chambers into law. The maps will take effect for New Hampshire’s 2022 state legislative elections.

The New Hampshire House passed a map on Jan. 5 in a 186-168 vote, which the Senate then approved on Feb. 16 in a 14-10 vote. The House Redistricting Committee initially advanced the proposal on Nov. 16, 2021.

As of March 25, 41 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers, one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect, and one state has adopted maps for one legislative chamber. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked previously enacted maps in one state, and five states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,742 of 1,972 state Senate seats (88.3%) and 4,594 of 5,411 state House seats (84.9%).

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Missouri completes state legislative redistricting

Missouri completed its legislative redistricting on March 15 when the state’s Judicial Redistricting Commission filed new state Senate district boundaries with the secretary of state. Missouri was the 43rd state to complete legislative redistricting. The House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission unanimously approved state House’s district boundaries on Jan. 21. These maps take effect for Missouri’s 2022 legislative elections.

The Senate Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission failed to submit proposed maps to the secretary of state’s office by the Dec. 23, 2021, deadline, thus passing responsibility for developing Senate district boundaries to the Missouri Judicial Commission for Redistricting. The judicial commission’s chair, Missouri Appeals Court Justice Cynthia Lynette Martin, said in a press release, “The Judicial Redistricting Commission’s work has been thorough and labor intensive, and was purposefully undertaken with the goal to file a constitutionally compliant plan and map well in advance of the commission’s constitutional deadline to avoid disenfranchising voters given the candidate filing deadline and the deadline for preparing ballots.”

The Missouri Supreme Court established the special redistricting panel of six state appeals court justices on Jan. 11 to assume responsibility for redistricting if either the House or Senate independent bipartisan citizens commissions were unable to agree on legislative district boundaries.

The House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission unanimously approved new state House district boundaries on Jan. 19. Fourteen of the commission’s 20 members were required to approve the plan. In a press release issued after the map was finalized, commission chair Jerry Hunter said, “I want to personally thank all of the commissioners for the hard work that was put in by the commissioners and, obviously, as all of you know, the supporting individuals that have been instrumental to helping get this map done on both sides – on both the Democratic and Republican sides.”

As of March 22, 2022, 42 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, and six states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,775 of 1,972 state Senate seats (90.0%) and 4,293 of 5,411 state House seats (79.3%).

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Louisiana enacts state legislative maps

Louisiana enacted new legislative district boundaries on March 14 when the bill detailing those boundaries took effect without Gov. Jon Bel Edwards’ (D) signature or veto. Louisiana holds regular state executive and legislative elections in odd-numbered years, so these maps take effect for the state’s 2023 elections.

On Feb. 18, the legislative redistricting plan passed the state Senate, 25-11, with all votes in favor by Republicans and 10 Democrats and one Republican voting against. The state House of Representatives approved it by an 82-21 vote with 68 Republicans, 12 Democrats, and two independents voting in favor and 20 Democrats and one independent voting against.

After the legislature voted on the maps, Tyler Bridges wrote in The Advocate, “Without much fuss, the Republican-controlled Legislature…approved new district boundaries for the state House and Senate that would maintain GOP legislative dominance for the next decade.”

Edwards had announced on March 9 that he would not act on the legislative boundaries, releasing a statement that said, in part, “While neither the congressional or legislative maps passed by Louisiana’s Legislature do anything to increase the number of districts where minority voters can elect candidates of their choosing, I do not believe the Legislature has the ability to draw new state House and Senate maps during this upcoming legislative session without the process halting the important work of the state of Louisiana. At a time when we face unprecedented challenges, but have unprecedented opportunities to make historic investments in our future, the Legislature should be focused on the issues in the upcoming session and not concerned about what their own districts will look like in the 2023 elections.”

The Louisiana constitution says that a bill “shall become law if the governor signs it or if he fails to sign or veto it…within twenty days after delivery if the tenth day after delivery occurs after the legislature is adjourned.” The Louisiana legislature passed the redistricting bill on the last day of its special redistricting session and delivered it to the governor on Feb. 21.

Louisiana is the second state in this redistricting cycle where maps have become law without the governor signing or vetoing them. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) neither signed nor vetoed that state’s congressional map. Arkansas’ congressional districts then became law on Jan. 14, 2022, 90 days after the legislature passed them.

Nationwide, legislative redistricting has been completed for 1,694 of 1,972 state Senate seats (85.9%) and 3,989 of 5,411 state House seats (73.7%).

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Louisiana governor vetoes legislature-approved congressional map

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed the state’s new congressional district boundaries on March 9. Edwards released a statement which said, in part, “I have vetoed the proposed congressional map drawn by Louisiana’s Legislature because it does not include a second majority African American district, despite Black voters making up almost a third of Louisianans per the latest U.S. Census data. This map is simply not fair to the people of Louisiana and does not meet the standards set forth in the federal Voting Rights Act.”

The state Senate and state House approved the new U.S. House map on Feb. 18. The congressional redistricting bill passed the state Senate, 27-10, strictly along party lines. The state House of Representatives approved it by a 64-31 vote with 61 Republicans, two independents, and one Democrat voting in favor and 27 Democrats, three Republicans, and one independent voting against.

According to Blake Paterson of The Advocate, “Republicans passed…maps…that would maintain the status quo of a single majority-Black district and would all but guarantee Louisiana sends five Republicans and one Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives in the congressional midterms this fall.”

Edwards also announced he would neither sign nor veto the state’s legislative maps, allowing them to become law without his signature on March 14. He released a statement which said, in part, “While neither the congressional or legislative maps passed by Louisiana’s Legislature do anything to increase the number of districts where minority voters can elect candidates of their choosing, I do not believe the Legislature has the ability to draw new state House and Senate maps during this upcoming legislative session without the process halting the important work of the state of Louisiana. At a time when we face unprecedented challenges, but have unprecedented opportunities to make historic investments in our future, the Legislature should be focused on the issues in the upcoming session and not concerned about what their own districts will look like in the 2023 elections.”

Edwards is the sixth governor —all in states with divided governments—that have vetoed at least one redistricting map this cycle. Legislators overrode these vetoes in three states—Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland—and mapmaking authority passed to the courts in the remaining two—Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Before the governor vetoed the congressional map, Paterson wrote on Feb. 23, “If Edwards vetoes the congressional maps, as his allies have urged, GOP legislative leaders are expected to attempt an override. That would likely take place on March 30, during the regular legislative session, according to Yolanda Dixon, the Senate’s secretary.”



St. Louis voters to decide Proposition R, a redistricting and election law initiative, at April 5 special election

Voters in St. Louis, Missouri, will decide a ballot initiative, Proposition R, at a special election on April 5, 2022. The citizen-initiated charter amendment addresses three policies – the city’s redistricting process, the laws governing conflicts of interest, and legislative changes to voting methods. It would also change the name of the Board of Aldermen to the Board of Alderpersons.

Proposition R follows the voter-approved Proposition D, which enacted a system of approval voting the offices of mayor, comptroller, president of the Board of Aldermen, and the Board of Aldermen. Approval voting is an electoral system in which voters may vote for any number of candidates they choose. Proposition D also made elections for these offices open and non-partisan. Proposition R would require the Board of Aldermen to submit changes to voting methods to the ballot for a public vote. Therefore, in regards to Proposition D, approval voting could not be repealed or changed by the Board without voter approval. After Proposition D was approved in 2020, the voting method was first used in the 2021 municipal election.  

Proposition R would transfer redistricting from the Board of Alderpersons to a nine-member redistricting commission that, according to the amendment, should “represent the demographic make-up of the City of St. Louis.” An Oversight Committee would remove applicants that do not meet certain requirements and then provide a list of applicants to the Board of Aldermen. Each alderperson would be permitted to strike one applicant from the list, which would then return to the Oversight Committee. A random draw would be used to select four applicants to serve as commissioners, and those four persons would select the remaining five applicants by votes requiring approval from three out of the four.

The nine-member redistricting commission would establish ward boundaries based on the following criteria, in order of priority:

  • following requirements of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
  • creating districts with contiguous territory;
  • minimizing the division of local neighborhoods or local communities of interest;
  • creating districts that are compact in form; and
  • using geographically identifiable boundaries.

Any votes of the redistricting commission, including approval of a final map, would require five affirmative votes.

The third topic addressed by Proposition R is conflict-of-interest laws. The charter amendment would also enact several provisions related to conflicts of interest, including:

  • prohibiting alderpersons from knowingly using their official position to influence others for their own or a related person’s personal or financial benefit;
  • requiring alderpersons to declare personal or financial conflicts of interest and abstain from voting when there are conflicts of interest;
  • prohibiting alderpersons from accepting employment or contracts that interfere with the discharge of their public duties or create conflicts of interest; and
  • requiring former alderpersons to wait at least one year before serving as a lobbyist to influence a city government decision.

The campaign Reform St. Louis, a project of Show Me Integrity, is supporting Proposition R. Through December 31, 2022, the campaign received $82,234, including $20,000 from the Center for Election Science and $15,000 from Show Me Integrity. Jami Cox, the campaign’s policy director, said, “What’s at stake is making sure that the St. Louis city government is operating in the most efficient and ethical way possible. If this proposition doesn’t pass, then we are looking at the redistricting process still being led by the people that are ultimately going to be running for the seats that they serve in and not having any hard outline processes in our city charter to reduce conflicts of interest.”

Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Aldermen, responded to the April 5 vote on Proposition R, saying, “There is no need to have a special election costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars solely for a proposal that the Prop R group admits is untimely, would be challenged in court, would not put into effect what it states it will and would not take effect for 10 years.”

Ballotpedia is covering local ballot measure elections on April 5 in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Jefferson City, Missouri. Along with Proposition R, St. Louis voters will also decide Proposition 1, which would issue $50 million in general obligation bonds for capital improvement projects. A two-thirds supermajority vote is required to approve Proposition 1, while Proposition R requires a simple majority vote.

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Wisconsin enacts new state legislative districts

Wisconsin enacted new state legislative districts on March 3, 2022, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court approved legislative proposals submitted by Gov. Tony Evers (D). The maps will take effect for Wisconsin’s 2022 state legislative elections.

Evers vetoed legislative district proposals from Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) on Nov. 18. The Senate had approved the maps 21-12 along party lines on Oct. 20, with all Republicans in the chamber voting for the proposal and all Democrats voting against it. The House passed the maps on Nov. 11 by a 60-38 party-line vote.

After Evers’ veto, the Wisconsin Supreme Court assumed control of the drafting process, as the court had agreed in September to decide new districts if the legislature and governor failed to do so. The court announced on Nov. 30 it would seek to make as few changes as possible to the current legislative and congressional maps adopted in 2011. Evers submitted the now-approved legislative district maps to the supreme court on Dec. 15.

Evers’ office released a statement saying the enacted maps “are significantly less gerrymandered than the state’s current maps and the maps proposed by the Legislature. The governor’s maps have more competitive districts, with two competitive congressional districts, three Senate districts, and eight Assembly districts, which are all highly competitive. By contrast, the maps proposed by the Legislature have only one competitive congressional district, one competitive Senate district, and three competitive Assembly districts.”

LeMahieu said the maps were drawn without public input: “Bipartisan supermajorities rejected the governor’s People’s Maps Commission (PMC) maps, the PMC failed. Now Governor Evers has abandoned his campaign rhetoric promising for independently-drawn maps to rapidly and secretly draw his own rigged maps without public input. The hypocrisy of the governor is impossible to ignore.”

As of March 3, 39 states have adopted legislative district maps for both chambers, and one state has adopted maps that have not yet gone into effect. The state supreme court in one state has overturned previously enacted maps, and nine states have not yet adopted legislative redistricting plans after the 2020 census. As of March 3, 2012, 43 states had enacted legislative redistricting plans after the 2010 census.

Nationwide, states have completed legislative redistricting for 1,655 of 1,972 state Senate seats (83.9%) and 3,884 of 5,411 state House seats (71.8%).

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