The NCSL Blog


By Ben Williams

Tuesday is Election Day in America.

flag/redistrictingFrom ballot initiatives to school boards to city councils, a lot is on the table in these off-year elections.

But perhaps nothing will be as consequential for future policy decisions as the elections for those officials who will draw legislative and congressional districts following the 2020 census. The table below shows the four states where control of the redistricting process is at stake*:


Legislative Elections

Gubernatorial Election





Yes (on Nov. 16, 2019)

Yes (on Nov. 16, 2019)







*While New Jersey voters will also elect their representatives today, those officials will not participate in redistricting because the Garden State uses commissions for redistricting.

At NCSL, we track when the officials who will participate in redistricting are elected on this webpage. As of today, only two states know everyone who will be drawing their districts: Alabama and Maryland. By the end of the evening Tuesday, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia will join them. (Kentucky’s legislators will be elected in 2020.)

In Virginia, the legislators elected Tuesday will also decide whether the General Assembly will have a role in future redistricting cycles. Earlier this year, the legislature passed a constitutional amendment to create a redistricting commission for state legislative and congressional districts. Under the Commonwealth’s constitution, for an amendment to be adopted it must pass in two legislative sessions separated by a general election.

If the legislators elected Tuesday choose to pass the 2019 amendment again in the 2020 legislative session, the measure would be referred to voters for ratification in November 2020. If adopted, Virginia would become the 15th state to use a commission to draw legislative districts and the 10th state to use one for congressional districts.

Louisiana held its all-comers (or “open”) primary in late October. All candidates who received at least 50% of the vote in the primary were elected to office, while in races in which no candidate received at least 50% of the vote, the top two vote recipients moved on to the Nov. 16 election. At stake is control of the governorship and whether Republicans will win supermajorities in the state legislature, allowing the legislature to override any potential gubernatorial vetoes of district plans.

Ben Williams is a policy specialist in NCSL’s Elections and Redistricting Program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.