Election Dates for Legislators and Governors Who Will Do Redistricting

Wendy Underhill and Ben Williams 10/30/2019

Introduction

Redistricting—the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts to balance them for equal population while meeting many other criteria—starts again in 2021, after new census data are released.

Planning for these once-a-decade, intensely political processes already has begun. In most states, legislators draw the maps, and governors have a veto. Who holds those elected seats when it is time to redistrict is, potentially, a key to partisan control of legislatures and states, and policy choices for years to come.

The first elected officials who will play a role in redistricting were elected in 2017 and 2018. A few more will be elected in 2019, and many more in 2020.

(For details on the states where legislators do not play the leading role in redistricting, and instead a commission draws the lines, see NCSL’s webpages on Redistricting Commissions: Legislative Plans and Redistricting Commissions: Congressional Plans.)

When Redistricters Are Elected

Alternative Text2018 was the first significant year in terms of determining who will be responsible for redistricting after 2021. In 2018, 30 governors and approximately one-eighth of the legislators who will have redistricting responsibility were elected. On the legislative side, approximately one third of the senators who will be in their seats for redistricting were elected, along with all of Alabama and Maryland's representatives and half of North Dakota's representatives. A few more redistricters will be elected in 2019, with the rest elected in 2020.

Already in Place
  • The governor in Virginia (2017)
  • All legislators in Alabama and Maryland, both senators and representatives (2018)
  • Roughly half the senators in 22 of the 26 states where senators serve staggered four-year terms; the other four states use a commission (2018)
  • Half the representatives in North Dakota, who serve staggered four-year terms (2018)
  • 29 governors who will have veto power regarding maps legislators produce (2018)
To Be Elected in 2019
  • All senators in Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia (who serve four-year terms)
  • All representatives in Louisiana and Mississippi (who serve four-year terms) and in Virginia (who serve two-year terms)
  • Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana (who serve four-year terms)
To Be Elected in 2020
  • All senators in 14 states
  • Roughly half the senators in 22 states (those in the states with staggered terms as mentioned under "Already in Place", above)
  • All state representatives in 37 states
  • Half the state representatives in North Dakota
  • Governors in eight states

Details on when legislators and governors who will do redistricting are elected is provided in the table below.

When Redistricting Takes Place

Redistricting cannot begin until new census data are provided to the states, which happens in the first few months of 2021.

Congressional redistricting must be completed before the filing deadlines for the 2022 general elections, when members of Congress are elected. States with a single represenative do not need to redistrict for Congress. Seven states are in this group for the current decade, although things may change after the new census. 

Legislative redistricting is generally completed before the filing deadlines of the first legislative elections after the census data is released. For most states, that is the 2022 election, but there are exceptions. 

  • New Jersey (by a commission) and Virginia (by the Legislature) will redraw legislative districts before the filing deadline for their 2021 legislative elections. 
  • Louisiana and Mississippi (by the legislatures) will redraw legislative districts before the filing deadline for their 2023 legislative elections. These states hold their legislative elections in odd-numbered years, with all legislators and the governors serving four-year terms. The first post-census elections in these states will be in 2023.
  • Montana's commission finalizes its legislative district plans prior to the filing deadline for the state's 2024 legislative elections. The state continues to use the districts from the previous decade in its 2022 legislative elections. 

Elections Relating to Legislative Redistricting
State | Year New Plans First Used For Legislative Elections Senate: Year Redistricters are Elected | Length of Term House: Year Redistricters are Elected | Length of Term Governors: Year Redistricters are Elected | Length of Term

Alabama | 2022

Elected in 2018

Elected in 2018

Elected in 2018

Alaska | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Arizona--uses a redistricting commission for congressional and legislative maps

 

Arkansas* | 2022

Elected in 2018

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

California--uses a redistricting commission for congressional and legislative maps

 

Colorado--uses redistricting commissions for congressional and legislative maps

 

Connecticut | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

Governor does not have a veto

Delaware | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

2020 (4 year)

Florida | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Georgia | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Hawaii--uses a redistricting commission for congressional and legislative maps

 

Idaho--uses a redistricting commission for congressional and legislative maps

 

Illinois | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Indiana | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

2020 (4 year)

Iowa | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Kansas | 2022

2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Kentucky | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

2019 (4 year)

Louisiana | 2023

2019 (4 year)

2019 (4 year)

2019 (4 year)

Maine | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Maryland | 2022

Elected in 2018

Elected in 2018

Elected in 2018

Massachusetts | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Michigan--uses a redistricting commission for congressional and legislative maps

 

Minnesota | 2022

2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Mississippi | 2023 

2019 (4 year)

2019 (4 year)

2019 (4 year)

Missouri* | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

2020 (4 year)

Montana--uses a redistricting commission for legislative maps and, if necessary, for congressional maps

 

Nebraska | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

Nebraska is unicameral

Elected in 2018

Nevada | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

New Hampshire | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

New Jersey--uses a redistricting commission for congressional and legislative maps

 

New Mexico | 2022

2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

New York | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

North Carolina | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

Governor does not have a veto

North Dakota | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (4 year)

Ohio* | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Oklahoma | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Oregon | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Pennsylvania* | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Rhode Island | 2022

2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

South Carolina | 2022

2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

South Dakota | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Tennessee | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Texas | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Utah | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

2020 (4 year)

Vermont | 2022

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

2020 (2 year)

Virginia** | 2021

2019 (4 year)

2019 (2 year)

Elected in 2017

Washington--uses a redistricting commission for congressional and legislative maps

 

West Virginia | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

2020 (4 year)

Wisconsin | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

Wyoming | 2022

2018/2020 (4 year)

2020 (2 year)

Elected in 2018

       

* These states have commissions draw legislative lines, whereas the legislature draws congressional lines.

** Virginia must draw its legislative districts in 2021, but can draw its congressional districts as late as 2022. Thus, the current governor will have veto power over the drawing of Virginia's legislative districts but may or may not over the state's congressional districts, depending on when the legislature draws them.

 

Additional Resources