By Wendy Underhill and Diana Jordan
After last year’s floods, fires, and of course, a pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau redistricting data is scheduled to be almost five months late.
The original due date of April 1, 2021, (set by federal statute) has been pushed by the bureau to Aug. 16. While this delay has allowed states to gather public input and consider last-minute policy changes, it also put a pause on states’ ability to comply with their own redistricting deadlines.
With July 2021 just around the corner, we can look at the progress the states would have made by looking back at where states were in July 2011:
And where they are today:
Around this time a decade ago, 27 states had at least some maps drafted. Compare that to this year, when only three states can say the same: Colorado, Illinois and Oklahoma.
Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission has released its preliminary map, a map that people throughout the state can now comment on. Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission plans to release its first map by the end of June.
Both Oklahoma and Illinois have adopted legislative maps, based on data from the bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), not the decennial census itself. Illinois’ maps have been challenged because of the use of ACS data by Lincoln State Republicans and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Most states are not in the same time-crunch as Colorado, Illinois and Oklahoma and can wait for the census data itself. But the fact remains, that, as a nation, redistricters are way behind the timeline of a decade ago.
To learn more about the ins and outs of making maps, NCSL is hosting its final redistricting seminar next month in Salt Lake City.
Wendy Underhill is the director of NCSL’s Redistricting and Elections Program and Diana Jordan is an intern for NCSL.