Redistricting Systems: A 50-State Overview

6/2/2020

Alternative Text

Introduction

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins with the phrase “We the People.” Over the past 200-plus years, defining who “the people” are has been a central issue in American democracy. Over the decades, the definition has gradually expanded to include racial minorities, women and Native Americans. But in the 20th century, a new issue has emerged: How do “the people” make their voices heard? Increasingly, this centers on how the districts of the people’s representatives—state legislators, members of Congress and others—are drawn. Known as redistricting, the politically powerful process of crafting district boundaries has become a major topic of debate in American politics.

Every 10 years, following the census, states are required to redraw district lines. This involves two closely linked, but distinct, processes: reapportionment (the reallocation of congressional districts among states to account for population shifts) and redistricting (the redrawing of district boundaries to ensure districts are of equal population within a state to comply with the principle of “one person, one vote”). While reapportionment only applies to congressional districts, all representational bodies that use districts—including some judicial districts and local governments—are required by federal law to redraw their boundaries following the census. The calculations for reapportionment are conducted by the Census Bureau, as directed by Congress. The power to redraw state legislative and congressional districts, however, is expressly provided to the state legislatures by the U.S. Constitution.

Generally, the rules governing how states redraw their district lines fall into two categories: process rules and criteria. Process rules dictate how district boundaries are drawn and who draws them. For example:

  • Does the state legislature retain the power to draw district lines, or has this responsibility been shifted to a redistricting commission?
  • Is there a mechanism for public input in the redistricting process? If so, is it mandatory or optional?
  • How many votes are required to adopt new district maps? Is a simple majority enough, or is a supermajority, or some standard of participation by the minority party, required?
  • How are challenges to a map handled by the courts? Must challenges to court maps be filed in a particular venue? Are adopted districts subject to immediate review by a state court?
  • Does the state reallocate prisoners from where the census says they reside (the prison) to their last known address prior to incarceration?

For the first 160-plus years of our nation’s history, all redistricting was performed by state legislatures, with little guidance on when or how to do it—or whether to do it at all. Indeed, some states went decades without changing district lines. In the mid-20th century, a series of court cases set the foundation for modern redistricting, requiring that districts be redrawn every decade to account for population shifts and to maintain the one-person, one-vote rule.

Starting from this foundation, changing redistricting systems is a relatively new phenomenon in American democracy. While much attention is focused on who has responsibility for redistricting—the legislature, as is traditional, or some form of a commission—changes to other aspects of the redistricting process have been considered and adopted as well. This report presents legislators interested in the redistricting process with models used in other states to inform them of the range of possible policy options.

This webpage compares the rules that govern redistricting in all 50 states. Each uses a different system for drawing legislative and congressional boundaries. Their varied experiences, and the lessons they can impart, may be useful for legislators across the country as they decide whether to make changes to existing rules and guidelines.

Click on each state below to see how that state redistricts. Special thanks to Professor Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School and All About Redistricting for providing links to many of the included documents. 

Text/HTML

Longer descriptiont than title       Redistricting Systems AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MO MS MT NE NV NH NY NJ NM NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC AS GU MP PR VI

Text/HTML

States

State flagSelect the state you want to learn more about Public Map Submission, Public Comment and Testimony, Public Hearing and Access, Notice and Citizen Initiated Review

ALABAMA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: Legislature must conduct redistricting at its first session after the taking of the decennial census (legislative districts only).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Communities of interest.
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required).

Public access and input rules:

  • None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 484, which received preclearance in late 2011.
  • State Senate and House: The legislature passed SB 25 (Senate districts) and HB 19 (House districts) during its 2012 special session. In January 2017, after lengthy litigation, a federal three-judge panel struck down 12 legislative districts for violating the equal protection clause’s prohibition on the predominant use of race in redistricting. It ordered the legislature to adopt remedial plans for use in all remaining elections that decade. Those remedial plans, SB 403 for the Senate and HB 571 for the House, were adopted in 2017.

Prisoner reallocation: Alabama does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Alabama’s legislative and congressional districts rests with its state legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. A veto can be overridden by a simple majority vote in each chamber.

While courts struck down parts of Alabama’s redistricting plans in the 2010s, the plans survived legal challenges during the 2000s. In both cycles, all plans—legislative and congressional—received preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Alabama uses several traditional criteria for its legislative and congressional districts and has not adopted any emerging criteria. Litigation during the 2010 redistricting cycle centered on federal constitutional and statutory challenges rather than challenges under state law.

ALASKA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Redistricting board.

Who draws congressional lines: None (at-large district). If Alaska were to be awarded a second congressional seat, the legislature would draw congressional lines.

Redistricting deadline: 90 days after the redistricting board has been appointed and the official reporting of the decennial census (legislative only); none for congressional districting.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Communities of interest.

Public access and input rules:

  • Hearings: The redistricting board must hold public hearings on all plans formally proposed by the board.
  • Notice: The redistricting board must issue a public proclamation of redistricting when a plan is approved by a vote of the board.
  • Citizen-initiated review: Within 30 days after the end of the 90-day period when maps must be redrawn, any qualified voter may petition the state Supreme Court to compel the redistricting board to correct any error in the district maps.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: None (at-large district).
  • State senate and house: The redistricting board adopted plans for the state Senate and House in 2011, which received preclearance from the Department of Justice late in the year. In 2012, the state Supreme Court rejected the process used by the redistricting board to redraw legislative districts, stating that it unnecessarily elevated the Voting Rights Act over state constitutional mandates in several circumstances. The redistricting board adopted remedial plans, which were again rejected by the state Supreme Court, though the court did permit their use in the 2012 elections while remedial plans were developed. Those remedial plans, adopted in 2013, survived legal challenges.

Board composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None. Commissioners must be selected without regard for party.
  • Qualifications: Must have been a resident of Alaska for at least 12 months prior to nomination.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Tw0 appointed by governor.
    • One appinted by Senate majority leader.
    • One appinted by House majority leader.
    • One appinted by chief justice of state Supreme Court.

Prisoner reallocation: Alaska does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

Alaska’s constitution assigns the power to redraw legislative districts to a reapportionment board appointed by the governor, House and Senate majority leaders and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court. The legislature retains the power to draw congressional districts, though it has never exercised this power because the state has been apportioned as a single congressional district since statehood. Alaska uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.

ARIZONA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines:Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Redistricting deadline: None.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Communities of interest.
  • Competitiveness.
  • Prohibition on favoring or disfavoring an incumbent or candidate.
  • Prohibition on using partisan data.

Public access and input rules:

  • The commission must release draft maps of legislative and congressional districts to the public for comment. The comment period cannot be shorter than 30 days.
  • During the public comment period, either or both chambers of the legislature may make recommendations to the commission for its consideration.
  • The commission is subject to state open records and open meetings laws.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: Final approved maps (see here).
  • State house and senate: Final approved maps (see here).

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown:
    • N more than two nominees may be of the same party.
    • Since its adption, every commission has consisted of two Democrats, two Republicans and one person unaffiliated with either major party who serves as the chair.
  • Qualifications:
    • Of the cmmissioners appointed by members of the legislature, no more than two may be residents of the same county (the chair is exempt from this rule).
    • Must be an Arizna voter.
    • Fr at least three years preceding appointment to the commission:
      • Must have been registered with the same political party or have been unaffiliated with either major party.
      • Must not have been elected to, appointed to or been a candidate for any other office, including a precinct committeeman or committeewoman (but excluding school board member).
      • Must not have served as an officer of a political party, as an officer of a candidate’s campaign committee or as a registered paid lobbyist.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • State cmmission on appellate court appointments nominates 10 Republicans, 10 Democrats and five individuals unaffiliated with either major party.
    • Majrity and minority leaders in each legislative chamber choose one commissioner from this pool of 25 nominees. The four select a fifth tiebreaker who is not registered in the same party as any other commissioner.

Prisoner reallocation: Arizona does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission was adopted in 2000 by citizen initiative. A simple majority is required for the commission to approve district maps, with no bipartisan vote requirement. Thus, the unaffiliated chairperson functions as a tiebreaker between the Republican-appointed and Democratic-appointed commissioners. In the 2010 cycle, the commission’s districts withstood all legal challenges. The congressional maps in the 2000 cycle were passed without incident, while legislative maps were ultimately approved in 2003.

Arizona requires that its districts comply with extensive lists of both traditional and emerging criteria. In the 2010 cycle, a controversy emerged over the proper interpretation of its competitiveness criterion. The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the commission’s judgments on balancing the required criteria, as well as the conduct of the chairwoman in adopting district maps.

ARKANSAS

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Reapportionment Board.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: On or before Feb. 1 immediately following each federal census (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Communities of interest.
  • Preserve cores of prior districts.
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required).

Public access and input rules:

  • Citizen-initiated review: If a citizen petitions, the state Supreme Court must review and possibly revise the maps.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: See legislature’s final congressional maps here.
  • State senate: See commission’s final Senate maps here.
  • State house: See commission’s final House maps here.

Board composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None. Commissioners are not appointed but hold their posts as part of their elected offices.
    • Gvernor.
    • Secretary f state.
    • Attrney general.
  • Qualifications: Must hold one of the above offices during redistricting.
  • Selection of commissioners: Election to one of the above offices in last general election prior to redistricting.

Prisoner reallocation: Arkansas does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

In 1956, Arkansas became the first state to give redistricting power to a commission or board. Composed of three executive branch officials, the commission is tasked with adopting legislative districts for the state. In both the 2010 and the 2000 redistricting cycles, the commission’s districts and the legislature’s districts withstood all legal challenges.

Arkansas requires that its districts comply with some traditional criteria. The state has not adopted any emerging criteria. The state Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over challenges to maps based on state law. While it has no statutory or constitutional deadline for adopting congressional maps, it traditionally does so in the regular legislative session in years ending in the number 1.

The secretary of state has approved ballot measure language for signature gathering, which would transfer redistricting power from the legislature and the existing apportionment board to a new, structurally different redistricting commission. If requisite signatures are gathered, it will appear on the 2020 general election ballot.

CALIFORNIA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Redistricting deadline: By Aug. 15 in each year ending in the number 1.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Communities of interest.
  • Prohibition on favoring or disfavoring an incumbent or candidate.
  • Prohibition on using partisan data.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public hearings: Commission must comply with California’s open meetings laws and must take steps to provide the public with ready access to redistricting data and software for map drawing.
  • Notice: Commission must provide 14 days public notice for hearings.
  • Citizen-initiated review: Redistricting statutes are subject to California’s referendum process. If citizens reject a final map by referendum, the secretary of state must petition the state Supreme Court to appoint special masters to redraw districts in accordance with existing criteria and requirements.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: See final maps here
  • State senate : See final maps here.
  • State house: See final maps here.

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown:
    • Five members registered with the largest plitical party in California based on registration (in 2011, Democrats).
    • Five members registered with the secnd-largest political party in California based on registration (in 2011, Republicans).
    • Fur members who are not registered with either of the two largest political parties in California based on registration.
  • Qualifications:
    • Must have vted in two of the last three statewide general elections immediately preceding application to the commission.
    • Fr at least five years preceding appointment to the commission:
      • Must have been registered with the same political party or have been unaffiliated with either major party.
      • Must not have been elected to, appointed to or been a candidate for any other office, including a precinct committeeman or committeewoman (but excluding school board member).
      • Must not have served as an officer of a political party, as an officer of a candidate’s campaign committee or as a registered paid lobbyist.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • The gal of the selection process is to “produce a commission that is independent from legislative influence and reasonably representative of [California’s] diversity.” (California Constitution, Article 21, Section 2(c)(1).)
    • Step 1: The state auditr releases application for voters in state to apply to serve.
    • Step 2: Applicatins are reviewed and those qualified are sorted into pools for each party group: Democrats, Republicans and those unaffiliated with either of the two largest parties by registration.
    • Step 3: After interviews, the panel selects the 60 applicants wh are most qualified to serve based on their skill sets.
    • Step 4: Legislative leaders strike up t 24 applicants from the pools.
    • Step 5: The state auditr’s office draws eight names from the pools—three Democrats, three Republicans and two unaffiliated members.
    • Step 6: These eight cmmissioners select two applicants from each of the remaining pools to complete the 14-member commission.

Prisoner reallocation: California will reallocate prisoners for the first time in the 2020 cycle.

Summary

California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission was adopted in 2008 (legislative districts) and 2010 (congressional districts) by citizen initiative. A supermajority vote is required for the commission to approve district maps, with at least three affirmative votes from each group of political party affiliates—Democrats, Republicans and those unaffiliated with either party. In the 2010 cycle, the commission’s districts withstood all legal challenges. California requires that its districts comply with extensive lists of both traditional and emerging criteria.

COLORADO

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission.

Redistricting deadline:

  • Congressional commission:
    • Cmmission must adopt district lines by Sept. 1, 2021. These maps are subject to automatic review by the Colorado Supreme Court. The court must rule on the maps by Nov. 1, 2021. If it approves the maps, they become law; if the court holds the maps to be invalid in whole or in part, the maps are returned to the commission for revisions. The court must approve revised maps by Dec. 15, 2021.
  • Legislative commission:
    • Cmmission must adopt district lines by Sept. 15, 2021. These maps are subject to automatic review by the state Supreme Court. The court must rule on the maps by Nov. 15, 2021. If it approves the maps, they become law; if the court holds the maps to be invalid in whole or in part, the maps are returned to the commission for revisions. The court must approve revised maps by Dec. 29, 2021.

Criteria used by both commissions:

  • Communities of interest.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Prohibition on favoring an incumbent or party.
  • Competitiveness.

Public access and input rules:

  • Selection of commissioners:
  • Cmmissioner applications are public records and must be posted online on the Colorado legislature’s website.
  • Nnpartisan staffers who review applications to the commission must publish their findings and conclusions about the qualifications of the applicants.
  • When the judicial panel that selects cmmissioners holds a meeting to reduce the number of qualified applicants, the meeting must be public.
  • Drawing of districts:
    • The cmmission must create and maintain a website (or like means of communication) through which the public may submit proposed maps or written comments for the commission’s consideration.
    • The cmmission may not adopt a district map until the following transparency rules are followed:
      • The commission must hold three hearings in each congressional district. One of these must be west of the Continental Divide, one east of the divide and one must be either south of El Paso County’s southern boundary or east of Arapahoe County’s eastern boundary. Each hearing must be attended by at least 10 commissioners, either in person or electronically.
      • All public hearings must give the public the opportunity to provide comment and must be broadcast and archived online.
      • All written comments must be published on the commission’s website.
      • Once a draft map is adopted, the commission must hold hearings in multiple regions of the state to receive feedback.
    • The cmmission must publish a report at the conclusion of its work, justifying its line-drawing decisions and explaining how its maps comply with legal requirements.
    • The cmmission, commissioners and commission staffers are subject to open meeting and open records laws.
    • Any persn who is paid to provide comment to the commission or to an individual commissioner must disclose their lobbying status with the secretary of state. The secretary of state’s office will publish on its website the names of the lobbyists, the type and amount of compensation received and the persons for whom they worked.

Composition for both commissions:

  • Partisan breakdown:
    • Fur Democrats.
    • Fur Republicans.
    • Fur unaffiliated with either major party.
  • Qualifications:
    • Must have been a registered vter in Colorado in previous two general elections.
    • Must have been affiliated with the same plitical party, or with no political party, for at least five years before appointment.
    • May nt have been a candidate for federal elected office within the past five years.
    • May nt be a member of the legislative (or congressional) commission.
    • May nt within the last three years have been:
      • Compensated by a member of Congress or a campaign committee advocating for the election of a candidate to Congress.
      • An elected public official at the municipal, county, state or federal levels.
      • An elected party official above the precinct level.
      • An employee of a political party.
      • A professional lobbyist registered at the municipal, state or federal levels.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Applicatins must be submitted to a panel of three retired Colorado Supreme Court or appellate court judges of different political parties.
    • Nnpartisan staff will review the applications to determine which ones satisfy the above qualifications.
    • Frm the pool of qualified applicants, the panel randomly selects 300 applications each from the Democratic and Republican pools and 450 from the unaffiliated pool.
    • Frm each of these pools, the panel will choose the 50 people best suited to working with other commissioners while representing the interests of different demographic, ethnic or interest groups in the state.
    • Frm each of these pools of 50 people, the panel will randomly choose two people to comprise half the commission; they may not reside in the same congressional district.
    • Next, the majrity and minority leaders in each chamber of the legislature will select 10 total candidates from the 50-person pools and send those names to the panel of judges.
    • The panel will then chose one commissioner from each of the leaders’ selected candidates, as well as two persons from the pool of 450 unaffiliated applicants, to round out the remainder of the commission. No more than two commissioners may be from the same congressional district.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: Maps were adopted by a state court and affirmed by the state Supreme Court.
  • State house and senate: Maps were adopted by a reapportionment commission (different from the ones that will be used in 2020).

Prisoner reallocation: Colorado does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

In 2018, Colorado voters approved two citizen initiatives creating two new citizens’ commissions: one to draw state legislative districts, the other to draw congressional districts. To approve a map, both commissions require eight votes, including at least two from commissioners who are unaffiliated with either major party. This changed the preexisting system in which the state legislature passed congressional redistricting maps as ordinary statutes subject to the governor’s veto, and state legislative districts were drawn by a commission appointed by legislative leaders, the governor and the chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. In the 2010 cycle, a state court drew the congressional maps after the legislature failed to do so, while the appointed commission adopted legislative district maps on its second attempt.

Beginning in the 2020 redistricting cycle, Colorado will use both traditional and emerging criteria. Notably, the state Supreme Court historically has rigorously enforced the redistricting provisions of the Colorado Constitution, in particular the requirements of compactness, contiguity and avoiding unnecessary political subdivision splits.

For both congressional and state legislative districts, Colorado requires—in addition to the traditional and emerging criteria listed at the beginning of this report—that districts not be drawn for the purpose of, or having the effect of, denying or abridging the right of any citizen to vote, or diluting the impact of a racial or lingual minority group’s influence.

CONNECTICUT

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature (by two-thirds supermajority vote of each chamber).

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature (by two-thirds supermajority vote of each chamber).

Redistricting deadline: By Sept. 15 following the year in which the U.S. census is taken. If this deadline is not met, a backup commission will draw the outstanding maps. If the backup commission fails to adopt maps by Nov. 30, the state Supreme Court has until Feb. 15 of the year ending in the number 2 to adopt maps.

Criteria used:

  • Contiguity (legislative only).
  • Preservation of political subdivisions (legislative only).

Public access and input rules:

  • Citizen-initiated review: The state Supreme Court may review any plan upon petition by a registered voter that is filed within 30 days of the plan’s formal filing.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: Legislature failed to adopt plans by constitutional deadline. The backup commission also failed to adopt maps by its subsequent deadline. Districts were ultimately drawn by a court-appointed special master in early 2012.
  • State Senate and House: Legislature failed to adopt plans by the constitutional deadline. The backup commission adopted Senate maps and House maps in late 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: Connecticut does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

Like most states, Connecticut’s legislature has primary responsibility for adopting district maps. If it is unable to adopt maps by a two-thirds majority vote by the constitutional deadline, the task shifts to a backup commission, which is composed of nine members, two of whom are chosen by each of the following elected officials: president pro tem of the Senate, Senate minority leader, House speaker and House minority leader. These eight select the ninth member within 30 days of their own selection as commissioners. The backup commission has jurisdiction over any maps that are not adopted, whether they be legislative or congressional. Since 1981, the legislature has been unable to redistrict by the state’s constitutional deadline; as a result, the backup commission authored all district maps in the state.

Connecticut requires its state legislative maps to comply with some traditional criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. It does not have any state-level criteria for congressional districts.

DELAWARE

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: No later than June 30, 2021 (legislative); none (at-large district).

Criteria used:

  • Contiguity.
  • Prohibition on unduly favoring a person or party.

Public access and input rules:

  • None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: None; state has at-large district
  • State Senate and House: Legislature passed HB 210 in 2011; before being used in any elections, it was modified partially in early 2012 by HB 250.

Prisoner reallocation: Delaware will reallocate prisoners for the first time in the 2020 cycle. (It passed a statute to reallocate prisoners in 2010 but did not apply the law in the 2010 redistricting cycle.)

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Delaware’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the state legislature. These districts are drawn by statute and are subject to the governor’s veto. It has a single at-large district for Congress.

Delaware is unique in that, although it imposes relatively few criteria on its legislative districts, it has adopted both traditional and emerging criteria. It did not see any court challenges to maps adopted in either the 2010 or 2000 redistricting cycles.

FLORIDA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: At its regular session in the second year following each decennial census (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Prohibition on intentionally favoring or disfavoring a party or incumbent.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute. In the 2010 cycle, the legislature facilitated the submission of maps drawn by the public by providing access to free online redistricting software and data. A table produced by the Florida Senate describing the process can be found here.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature adopted new congressional districts with the enactment of SB 1174 in 2012. The map was partially struck down in July 2014 for violating the so-called Fair Districts Amendments, which were added to the state Constitution in 2010 via a citizen initiative. Following the court’s order, the legislature passed new maps in August 2014. Litigation continued against the new maps, and the state Supreme Court struck them down in July 2015, remanding the case to the trial court for further consideration. On remand in October 2015, the trial court issued an opinion adopting remedial districts to replace the August 2014 districts. The state Supreme Court approved these remedial maps in December 2015, and they have been in effect since.
  • State Senate: The legislature adopted new state Senate and House districts with the enactment of SJR 1176 in 2012. The state Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that eight Senate districts were unconstitutional. The legislature then adopted remedial maps, which were subsequently approved by the state Supreme Court. In July 2015, the state Senate admitted in a separate case that its maps were drawn with unconstitutional partisan intent. When the legislature failed to adopt a remedial map, a state court adopted a new map for the Senate, which can be found here.
  • State House: The legislature passed SJR 1176 in 2012, which adopted new maps for both state House and Senate districts. The state Supreme Court ruled the maps to be constitutional in 2012.

Prisoner reallocation: Florida does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Florida’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. Congressional districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. Legislative districts, meanwhile, are drawn by the legislature as a resolution not subject to gubernatorial veto. They are, however, automatically reviewed by the state Supreme Court for adherence to state and federal law.

Florida’s Senate and congressional maps were subject to multiple lawsuits that spanned more than half a decade, resulting in both being redrawn at least once. The litigation stemmed from two constitutional amendments adopted by Florida voters in 2010. Known as the “Fair Districts Amendments,” they were named after the organization that sponsored the campaigns to place the amendments on the ballot. The amendments (Florida Constitution, Article III, Sections 20 and 21) added emerging criteria to the state Constitution for legislative and congressional districts, as well as prohibitions on abridging the equal opportunity of racial and language minorities to elect candidates of their choice. The state Senate published on its website a timeline of redistricting action over the past decade.

GEORGIA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: None required in statute.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required).

Public access and input rules:

  • None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 20EX in a special session in September 2011.
  • State Senate: The legislature passed SB 1EX in a special session in August 2011. The legislature amended the map during its regular 2012 session, though the changes were adopted too late to receive preclearance in time for the 2012 election. The adjusted map was used for the first time in 2014.
  • State House: The legislature passed HB 1EX in a special session in August 2011. The legislature amended the plan during its regular 2012 session prior to its use in the 2012 election. In 2015, the legislature adopted further changes to certain districts on the map.

Prisoner Reallocation: Georgia does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Georgia’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The state Senate and House maps were not challenged in court. A case challenging the state’s congressional districts under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act was dismissed voluntarily by the plaintiffs in early 2020.

Georgia uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. The only constitutionally required criterion is contiguity; the other criteria listed above were adopted by the redistricting committee in 2011 as additional guidelines to abide by in that cycle’s redistricting.

HAWAII

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Hawaii Reapportionment Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: Hawaii Reapportionment Commission.

Redistricting deadline: No more than 150 days from the date on which its members are certified.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Prohibition on unduly favoring a person or party.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public hearings and access: The commission must hold at least one public hearing in each “basic island unit” (a term defined in the Hawaii Constitution).
  • Notice: Within 100 days of the commission’s formation, the commission must give each island unit public notice of hearings on the redistricting map proposed. This notice must include any hearing’s date and location at least 20 days in advance. The chief election officer must give notice of the final map’s official filing within 14 days.
  • Citizen-initiated review: The Hawaii Supreme Court reviews the maps if a registered voter petitions the court within 45 days of the final map’s filing.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The commission released final plans in September 2011 (see here).
  • State senate and house: The commission released final plans in September 2011 (see here). These maps were struck down by the state Supreme Court for failing to exclude nonresident military personnel from its population calculations, as is required by the state Constitution. The commission adopted new legislative maps in the spring of 2012.

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None required.
  • Qualifications: None; commissioners are prohibited from running for legislative or congressional seats in the first two regularly scheduled elections under the newly adopted maps.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Tw commissioners are selected by the:
      • President of the Senate.
      • Speaker of the House.
    • One cmmissioner is selected by the:
      • Minority leader in the Senate.
      • Minority leader in the House.
    • The tw minority-chosen commissioners each select another person to serve as commissioner. Six votes are required to select the ninth member.
    • These eight cmmissioners select the ninth and final member, who serves as chair.

Prisoner reallocation: Hawaii does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

Hawaii’s Reapportionment Commission is tasked with redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional districts. A simple majority is required for the commission to approve district maps, with no bipartisan vote requirement. Unless specified in statute or the state Constitution, the commission is empowered to adopt its own rules of operation by majority vote. Hawaii requires that its districts comply with both traditional and emerging criteria.

IDAHO

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Idaho Commission for Reapportionment

Who draws congressional lines: Idaho Commission for Reapportionment

Redistricting deadline: Within 90 days after the commission has been organized or the necessary census data is available, whichever is later.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Prohibition on protecting a party or incumbent.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public map submissions: Individual citizens or organizations can present plans to the commission, which are made publicly available.
  • Public hearings and access: All commission meetings are subject to Idaho’s open meeting laws. The commission must hold public meetings in different locations across the state to maximize the chance for public participation. All census databases and other databases available to the commission must be made available to any person at cost. All commission deliberations shall be open to the public.
  • Citizen-initiated review: The state Supreme Court reviews the plan if a registered voter appeals to the court within a time period prescribed by rule of the court.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The commission released final plans in October 2011 (see here).
  • State senate and house: The commission adopted initial plans in October 2011; those were struck down by the state Supreme Court for failing to sufficiently follow county boundaries. The commission released final, remedial maps in in January 2012 (see here).

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None required; in effect, the commission is evenly balanced between three Democrats and three Republicans.
  • Qualifications:
    • N person may serve on the commission who:
      • Is not a registered voter of the state at the time of selection.
      • Is or has been within one year a registered lobbyist.
      • Is or has been within two years prior to selection an elected official or elected legislative district, county or state party officer (precinct committeepersons excepted).
    • Cmmissioners are prohibited from serving in either house of the legislature for five years following service as a commissioner.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • One cmmissioner is selected by the:
      • Leader of the largest party in the Senate.
      • Leader of the second-largest party in the Senate.
      • Leader of the largest party in the House.
      • Leader of the second-largest party in the House.
      • Chair of the party receiving the highest number of votes in the last gubernatorial election.
      • Chair of the party receiving the second-highest number of votes in the last gubernatorial election.

Prisoner reallocation: Idaho does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

Idaho’s Commission for Reapportionment is tasked with redrawing the state’s legislative and congressional districts. A simple majority is required for the commission to approve district maps, with no bipartisan vote requirement. In the 2011 cycle, the commission failed to adopt districts by its constitutionally mandated deadline. The secretary of state ordered the creation of a new commission (with the same people serving as commissioners), which ultimately adopted maps for legislative and congressional districts in late 2011 and early 2012. Idaho requires that its districts comply with both traditional and emerging criteria.

ILLINOIS

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: June 30 in the year following the decennial census (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness (legislative only).
  • Contiguity (legislative only).

Public access and input rules:

  • Public hearings and access: At least four public hearings must be held statewide to obtain testimony and to inform the public of the districts, with at least one hearing held in each of the four distinct geographic regions of the state as determined by the legislative committee undertaking redistricting.
  • Notice: The committee chairperson must give public notice of any public hearing, including its date, time and place at least six days prior.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 1178 in May 2011.
  • State Senate and House: The legislature passed SB 1177 in May 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: Illinois does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Illinois’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. While not triggered during the 2010 redistricting cycle, the state’s legislative districts would be drawn by its backup commission if the legislature fails to meet the redistricting deadline set in the state Constitution.

Illinois requires that its legislative districts comply with two traditional criteria and does not impose any criteria on its congressional districts. It has not adopted any emerging criteria. Under the state’s Voting Rights Act, districts enabling minority groups to elect their candidate of choice or influence the results of elections, either on their own or as “coalitions,” are permitted. Its maps survived all court challenges in the 2010 cycle. 

INDIANA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature

Redistricting deadline: District maps must be adopted at the first regular session of the general assembly convening immediately following the United States decennial census (congressional); none (legislative).

Criteria used: Contiguity (legislative only).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 1602 in April 2011.
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed HB 1601 in April 2011.

Prisoner Reallocation: Indiana does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Indiana’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. While not triggered during the 2010 redistricting cycle, the state’s congressional districts would be drawn by its backup commission if it failed to meet the redistricting deadline in its state Constitution. Unlike most commissions with either primary or backup redistricting authority, Indiana’s backup commission is established by statute, and thus may be repealed by the legislature at any time.

Indiana requires that its legislative districts comply with one traditional criterion and does not impose any criteria on its congressional districts. It has not adopted any emerging criteria. The 2010 maps were never challenged in court.

IOWA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Legislative Services Agency.

Who draws congressional lines: Legislative Services Agency.

Redistricting deadlines:

  • By April 1 of the year ending in 1, or within 45 days of receiving census data (whichever is later), the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) is required to deliver redistricting map (“First Map”) in statutory format to the legislature for its consideration.
  • If the First Map is rejected: Within 35 days of legislative rejection of First Map, the LSA is required to deliver a second map which must address the reasons why the first map was rejected.
  • If the Second Map is rejected: Within 35 days of legislative rejection of Second Map, the LSA required to deliver a third map which must address the reasons why the second map was rejected.
  • If by Sept. 1, in the year ending in 1, a map has not been approved by the legislature, the Iowa Supreme Court adopts a map.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Prohibition on favoring an incumbent or party.
  • Prohibition on using partisan data.

Public access and input rules:

  • The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission (TRAC) assisting the LSA must conduct at least three public hearings in different regions of the state, and drafts a report summarizing the public feedback for the legislature.
  • TRAC must make public a copy of the redistricting map adopted by the LSA, as well as all its associated data.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: First draft of proposed congressional districts were approved by legislature and signed into law by the governor (see here).
  • State house and senate: First draft of proposed state House and Senate districts were approved by the legislature and signed into law by the governor (see here).

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: Majority and minority leaders each appoint one person to serve on the commission. Those four select a fifth commissioner to serve as the chair.
  • Qualifications:
    • Must be an eligible vter in Iowa at the time of selection.
    • Cannt hold either a partisan public office or a political party office.
    • Cannt be a relative of a member of the legislature or of Congress.
    • Cannt be an employee of a member of the legislature or of Congress.
    • Cannt be employed directly by the legislature or of Congress.

Prisoner reallocation: Iowa does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

Like most states, Iowa’s legislature has primary responsibility for adopting district maps. But unlike its peers, Iowa assigns the task of drawing the lines that the legislature votes on to nonpartisan legislative staff. These staffers refer congressional, state House and state Senate maps to the state legislature, which then must give the maps an up-or-down vote. A simple majority of the legislature is required to adopt maps. In every decade since this system was adopted in 1980, the legislature has adopted state legislative and congressional maps drawn by the nonpartisan staffers.

Iowa requires its state legislative and congressional districts to comply with both traditional and emerging criteria. Unlike many other states, Iowa prohibits its nonpartisan staff from considering partisan data when drawing district maps. Such data includes the addresses of incumbent legislators and members of Congress; the political affiliation of registered voters; previous election results; and demographic information apart from population data (except where necessary to comply with the Voting Rights Act).

KANSAS

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: By the end of its regular session in the year ending in 2 (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Preserving the cores of prior districts (congressional only).
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (legislative only).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The Senate passed SB 145, which redrew the state’s congressional districts. On crossover, the House passed its own substitute version of the bill. The two sides failed to agree on new maps before the 2012 session adjourned. New district maps were ultimately adopted by a federal court.
  • State senate and house: Both the House (HB 2606) and Senate (SB 344) passed bills to redraw state legislative districts, but neither was passed by the other chamber before the 2012 session adjourned. New district maps were ultimately adopted by a federal court.  

Prisoner reallocation: Kansas does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Kansas’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. Once maps were adopted by the federal court, none of its maps were challenged in court.

Kansas uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. In the 2010 and 2000 redistricting cycles, Kansas reallocated students and nonresident military populations from college campuses and bases to their permanent residences for redistricting purposes. This provision was repealed by voters in a legislatively referred constitutional amendment in 2018, and thus will not be used for the 2020 cycle.

KENTUCKY

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: Districts must be drawn in years ending in 2 (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest (congressional only).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 302 during the 2012 regular session.
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed HB 1 during the 2012 regular session. A state court struck down the new maps in February 2012 for unnecessarily splitting counties and other preexisting political subdivisions. During a special session in the summer of 2012, the legislature adopted new maps when it passed HB 1.

Prisoner reallocation: Kentucky does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Kentucky’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor; however, Kentucky’s legislature can override vetoes by a simple majority vote. Kentucky uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.

LOUISIANA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: By the end of the year following the year in which the population of the state is reported to the president of the United States for each decennial federal census (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preserve the cores of prior districts.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 6 in April 2011.
  • State Senate: The legislature passed SB 1 in April 2011.
  • State House: The legislature passed HB 1 in April 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: Louisiana does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Louisiana’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. Louisiana uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. Despite voluminous litigation, the 2010 cycle maps have withstood all legal challenges since their enactment.

MAINE

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature, with advice of the Legislative Apportionment Commission (two-thirds majority vote required).

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature, with advice of the Legislative Apportionment Commission (two-thirds majority vote required).

Redistricting deadline:

  • Commission must submit its plan to the clerk of the state House of Representatives no later than June 1 of the year in which apportionment is required. The legislature must enact the commission’s plan, or one of its own, by June 11 (congressional).
  • Commission must submit its plan to the clerk of the House and the secretary of the Senate no later than June 1 of the year in which apportionment is required. The legislature must enact the submitted plan of the commission, or a plan of its own, in regular or special session by June 11 (legislative).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public hearings and access: The commission shall hold public hearings on any redistricting plan before submission to the Legislature.
  • Citizen-initiated review: Any citizen or group may challenge the apportionment law in the state Supreme Court.

Advisory commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None required. Functionally, six Republicans and six Democrats. The three remaining public members may be of any (or no) party.
  • Qualifications: None required in statute.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Speaker f the House appoints three.
    • Huse minority leader appoints three.
    • President f the Senate appoints two.
    • Senate minrity leader appoints two.
    • Chair f largest political party appoints one.
    • Chair f second-largest political party appoints one.
    • The members frm the two parties represented on the commission appoint a public member.
    • The tw public members of the commission choose a third public member.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: Rather than pass the map recommended to it by the commission, the legislature passed LD 1590 in September 2011.
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed LD 1557, which was based on the recommended map from the advisory commission, in May 2013.

Prisoner reallocation: Maine does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Maine’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The legislature is aided in this task by an advisory commission, the Maine Apportionment Commission. Composed of a combination of legislative appointees and public members, the commission adopts maps for the legislature’s consideration. The legislature may adopt or modify the commission’s recommended maps (and did so for the 2010 cycle congressional map), or it may reject them and draft maps of its own.

Maine uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. If the legislature fails to adopt legislative or congressional districts by the deadlines set in the state Constitution, the task of redistricting shifts to the state Supreme Court.

MARYLAND

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature (although the governor must submit a plan to the legislature for its consideration, which goes into effect if the legislature does not amend or replace it).

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: By the 45th day after the opening of the regular session of the General Assembly in the second year following every census (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness (legislative only).
  • Contiguity (legislative only).
  • Preservation of political subdivisions (legislative only).

Public access and input rules:

  • Public hearings and access: Public hearings are required before the governor prepares a plan.
  • Citizen-initiated review: Any registered voter may petition the state Supreme Court to review the legislative districting of the state.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 1 in October 2011.
  • State senate and house: The governor released his proposal to the legislature in early 2012. Because the legislature did not act on his proposal or pass a map of its own, the governor’s proposal became law.

Prisoner reallocation: Maryland reallocates prisoners for redistricting and did so in the 2010 cycle.

Summary

Maryland’s redistricting system is unique among the states. For congressional districts, it is like the vast majority of its peers in that the legislature has responsibility to draw maps, which are subject to the governor’s veto. For legislative districts, however, the state Constitution requires the governor to submit to the legislature a proposed legislative redistricting map, which becomes law unless the legislature passes maps of its own within 45 days of passage.

Courts were heavily involved in Maryland redistricting in the 2010 cycle. Most notably, the state was subject to years of federal challenges alleging that one of the state’s congressional districts was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering under the First Amendment. That case—Benisek v. Lamone—was decided at the same time as the landmark case Rucho v. Common Cause, which held that claims of unconstitutional partisanship in redistricting cannot be decided (in legal terms, are “non-justiciable”) in federal courts.

Maryland uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.

MASSACHUSETTS

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: At the legislature’s first regular session after the year in which the census was taken (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Contiguity (legislative only).
  • Preservation of political subdivisions (legislative only).

Public access and input rules:

  • Citizen-initiated review: Voters may petition the state supreme court to challenge the apportionment plan.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed H 3798 in November 2011.
  • State Senate: The legislature passed S 2045 and in November 2011.  
  • State House: The legislature passed H 3770 in November 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: Massachusetts does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Massachusetts’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. Massachusetts uses some traditional redistricting criteria for its legislative districts and has not adopted any emerging criteria. It does not impose any state law requirements for its congressional districts.

MICHIGAN

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Redistricting deadline: No later than Nov. 1 in the year immediately following the federal decennial census.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Communities of interest.
  • Preservation of the cores of prior districts.
  • Prohibition on intentionally favoring or disfavoring an incumbent, candidate or party.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public map submissions: The commission must receive and consider written submissions of proposed plans and any supporting materials, including underlying data, from any member of the public. These submissions become public records.
  • Public comment and testimony: After drafting at least one plan for congressional, state senate and state house districts, the commission shall hold at least five public hearings throughout the state to solicit comments from the public. Before voting to adopt a plan, the commission shall provide at least 45 days for public comment on those proposed plans with the accompanying data and descriptions of the plans.
  • Public hearings and access: Before drafting any plan, the commission is required to hold at least 10 public hearings throughout the state to inform the public and solicit information from them regarding potential plans. After drafting at least one plan for each type of district, the commission shall publish them, along with detailing any related features and considerations and data or materials used to make them. The commission shall conduct all of its business at open meetings. The commission shall hold hearings in a manner that invites wide public participation, and shall use technology to provide contemporaneous public observation and meaningful public participation in the process. Within 30 days of adopting a plan, the commission shall publish all data, reference materials, reports and information used to produce and test the plan.
  • Notice: The commission shall provide public advance notice of its meetings and hearings. Before voting to adopt a plan, the commission shall provide public notice of each plan to be voted on and give 45 days for public comment.

2010 cycle outcomes (note: legislature drew maps in 2010 cycle):

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 4780 in June 2011.
  • State house and senate: The legislature passed SB 498 in June 2011.

New Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown:
    • Functinally, four Democrats, four Republicans, five unaffiliated members.
    • Fur affiliated with the largest political party in the state.
    • Fur affiliated with the second-largest political party in the state.
    • Five unaffiliated with either f the two largest political parties in the state.
  • Qualifications:
    • Must be registered and eligible t vote in the state of Michigan.
    • Cannt currently be or in the past six years have been:
      • A declared candidate for partisan federal, state or local office.
      • An elected official to partisan federal, state or local office.
      • An officer or member of the governing body of a national, state or local political party.
      • A paid consultant or employee of a federal, state or local elected official or political candidate; of a federal, state or local political candidate’s campaign; or of a political action committee.
      • An employee of the legislature.
      • Any person who is registered as a lobbyist agent with the state bureau of elections, or any employee of such person.
      • An unclassified state employee who is exempt from classification in state civil service pursuant to Michigan Constitution, Article XI, Section 5, except employees of courts of record, employees of the state institutions of higher education, and persons in the armed forces of the state.
    • Must nt be a parent, stepparent, child, stepchild or spouse of any individual who does not meet the qualifications of the state Constitution.
    • Must nt be otherwise disqualified for appointed or elected office by the state Constitution.
    • Fr five years after the date of appointment, is ineligible to hold partisan elective office at the state, county, city, village or township level in Michigan.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Secretary f state releases applications for commissioner to the public no later than Jan. 1 of the year of the decennial census. The secretary of state must circulate the applications in a manner that invites wide public participation from different regions of the state. The secretary must also mail applications for commissioner to 10,000 Michigan registered voters, selected at random, by Jan. 1 of the year of the federal decennial census.
    • The secretary f state must mail additional applications for commissioner to Michigan registered voters selected at random until 30 qualifying applicants that affiliate with one of the two major parties have submitted applications, 30 qualifying applicants that identify that they affiliate with the other of the two major parties have submitted applications, and 40 qualifying applicants that identify that they do not affiliate with either of the two major parties have submitted applications, each in response to the mailings.
    • The secretary f state must accept applications for commissioner until June 1 of the year of the decennial census.
    • By July 1 f the year of the decennial census, the secretary must:
      • Eliminate incomplete or unqualified applications from the pool.
      • Randomly select 60 applicants from each of the partisan-affiliated pools and 80 applicants from the unaffiliated partisan pool. 50% of each pool must be those who submitted applications in response to the secretary of state’s mailings. These selections must use accepted statistical weighting methods to ensure that the pools, as closely as possible, mirror the geographic and demographic makeup of the state.
      • Submit the randomly selected applicants to the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, and the speaker of the House and the minority leader of the House of Representatives.
    • By Aug. 1 f the year of the decennial census, the legislative leaders may each strike five applicants from any pool or pools, up to a maximum of 20 total strikes by the four legislative leaders.
    • By Sept. 1 f the year of the decennial census, the secretary of state must randomly draw the names of four commissioners from each of the two pools of remaining applicants affiliating with a major party and five commissioners from the pool of remaining nonaffiliating applicants.

Prisoner reallocation: Michigan does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

In prior redistricting cycles (including 2010), Michigan’s maps were drawn by the legislature as regular statutes, which were subject to the governor’s veto. In 2018, voters approved a citizen initiative to create a new redistricting commission. The new commission will be formed for the first time in 2020, in advance of redistricting following the release of census data. As part of the same 2018 initiative that created the state’s new commission, Michigan now requires that its districts comply with extensive lists of both traditional and emerging criteria.

In the 2010 cycle, Michigan’s districts were subject to litigation under federal partisan gerrymandering and Voting Rights Act claims. All of the cases were ultimately dismissed.

MINNESOTA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: Redistricting must be completed at the first legislative session after the census.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required; legislative only).
  • Prohibition on intentionally favoring or disfavoring an incumbent (legislative only).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HF 1426 in May 2011, but the governor vetoed the bill and the legislature did not override. With no new maps adopted by the state constitutional deadline, the state Supreme Court appointed a panel to draw new maps, which were adopted in February 2012. 
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed HF 1425 in May 2011, but the governor vetoed the bill and the legislature did not override. With no new maps adopted by the state constitutional deadline, the state Supreme Court appointed a panel to draw new maps, which were adopted in February 2012.

Prisoner reallocation: Minnesota does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Minnesota’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. But for the fifth decade in a row, courts were forced to draw district maps instead. Those maps have been in effect since 2012. Minnesota uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has adopted one emerging criteria, a prohibition on favoring or disfavoring legislative incumbents.

MISSISSIPPI

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: During the legislature’s regular session in the second year following the decennial census (legislative); no later than 30 days preceding the convening of the next regular session of the legislature after the results of the census are published (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest (congressional only).
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required) (congressional only).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature did not pass a proposed map during the 2011 legislative session. A federal court adopted new maps for the state in December 2011.
  • State senate: The legislature passed JR 1 in May 2012. Those maps were in effect until 2019, when a federal court struck down one district (District 22) for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The court adopted a new map for the 2019 legislative elections. The state defendants appealed the case to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the lower court’s finding of a Voting Rights Act violation was upheld by a three-judge panel. The state has appealed that decision, and the case is ongoing.State House: The legislature passed JR 201 in May 2012.

Prisoner reallocation: Mississippi does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Mississippi’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. The state’s congressional districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The state’s legislative districts are drawn by legislative resolution and are not subject to the governor’s veto. Mississippi uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. The legislative committee that redistricts the state’s legislative and congressional districts has traditionally followed additional criteria not listed in statute or the state Constitution. These committee-adopted criteria will not necessarily be the same from cycle to cycle. 

MISSOURI

State flag

Who draws legislative lines: Missouri House Apportionment Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: No later than five months after the appointment of the commission, the commission shall file with the secretary of state a tentative redistricting plan and a map of the proposed districts. No later than six months after the appointment of the commission, the commission shall file with the secretary of state a final statement of the numbers and the boundaries of the districts (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions (legislative only).
  • Prohibition on intentionally favoring or disfavoring an incumbent, candidate or party (legislative only).

Public access and input rules for both commissions:

  • Public map submissions: The state demographer will establish a website, to be known as the “Redistricting Public Comment Portal,” to facilitate public comments, records, documents, maps, data files, communications or information of any kind relating to the redistricting process.
  • Public comment and testimony: Within five months of appointment, each commission will file with the secretary of state a proposed map and within 15 days shall hold public hearings “as may be necessary” to hear objections and testimony from the public. The state demographer must accept comments, records, documents, maps, data files, communications or information of any kind relating to the redistricting process solely through the Redistricting Public Comment Portal.
  • Public hearings and access: Within five months of appointment, the commission must file a proposed redistricting plan with the secretary. Within 15 days thereafter, the commission shall hold public hearings “as may be necessary” to hear objections and testimony from interested persons.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 193 in April 2011. The governor vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode the governor’s veto, allowing the bill to become law.
  • State senate: The commission failed to adopt new maps. A backup body adopted new state Senate maps in December 2011; those were struck down by the state Supreme Court for unnecessarily dividing counties. In that opinion, the court also held the backup body did not have authority to revise its maps, so a new commission was convened to draw remedial senate maps, which it did in March 2012.    
  • State house: The commission failed to adopt new House maps. A backup body adopted new maps in December 2011.

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown:
    • Senate cmmission: Nine members frm the party receiving the highest number of votes in the last gubernatorial election and nine members from the party receiving the second-highest number of votes in the last gubernatorial election. Functionally, nine Republicans, nine Democrats.
    • Huse commission: Five members frm the party receiving the highest number of votes in the last gubernatorial election and five members from the party receiving second-highest number of votes in last gubernatorial election. Functionally, five Republicans, five Democrats.
  • Qualifications:
    • Nne to serve.
    • Members f the commission shall be disqualified from holding office as members of the General Assembly for four years following the date of the filing by the commission of its final statement of apportionment.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Senate cmmission: Lists f two potential commissioners from each congressional district are submitted by the two main political parties by total votes cast in last gubernatorial election. The governor picks one person from each party’s list from each congressional district to serve as a commissioner (18 total commissioners).
    • Huse commission: Lists f 10 potential commissioners are submitted by the two main political parties by total votes cast in last gubernatorial election. The governor picks five people from each party’s list (10 total commissioners).

Prisoner reallocation: Missouri does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Missouri’s congressional districts rests with the legislature. Since 1970, Missouri’s state Senate and House districts have been drawn by two separate redistricting commissions, and that will continue in the 2020 cycle. In 2018, Missouri voters approved a citizen initiative creating a position for a nonpartisan state demographer who will draw new legislative districts for these commissions to consider. The commissions may modify the demographer’s proposals by a supermajority vote.

In prior decades, Missouri used some traditional redistricting criteria and had not adopted any emerging criteria. As part of the same 2018 citizen initiative that created the nonpartisan state demographer position, an emerging criterion—a prohibition on favoring or disfavoring a person, party or incumbent—was added to the state Constitution.

MONTANA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: None (at-large district). If Montana were to be awarded a second congressional seat, the Montana Districting and Apportionment Commission would draw congressional lines.

Redistricting deadline: The commission submits plans to the legislature during the legislature’s first session after census data is released. The legislature has 30 days to make recommendations. The commission then has 30 days to file its final plan, adjusted for the legislature’s recommendations or not, with the secretary of state, at which point the plan becomes law. For congressional districts, the commission must file its plan with the secretary of state within 90 days after the final decennial census figures are available.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Prohibition on intentionally favoring or disfavoring an incumbent or party.
  • Prohibition on using partisan data (except as required by a court in drawing a remedy).

Public access and input rules: Before the commission files its final plans to the secretary of state (congressional) or legislature (legislative), it shall hold at least one public hearing.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: None (at-large district).
  • State senate and house: The commission made its initial recommendations to the legislature in January 2013. After receiving feedback, it adopted final maps in February 2013.

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None required. Functionally, two Democrats, two Republicans, one unaffiliated.
  • Qualifications:
    • N commissioner may be a public official; the state Constitution refers to commissioners as “citizens.” (Montana Constitution, Article 5, Section 14(2))
    • Cmmissioners are prohibited from running for election to a legislative seat within two years after the map in which the commissioner participated becomes effective.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • One member is chsen by each of the following:
      • Senate majority leader.
      • Senate minority leader.
      • House majority leader.
      • House minority leader.
    • Thse four commissioners choose a fifth commissioner to serve as chair. If they are unable to do so, the state Supreme Court selects the fifth commissioner.

Prisoner reallocation: Montana does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

Since the 1970s, the power to draw Montana’s legislative and congressional districts has rested with the state’s Districting and Apportionment Commission. Before the commission can adopt final maps, it must present a draft proposal to the state legislature, which makes recommendations on alterations to the final proposal. Montana uses both traditional and emerging criteria.

NEBRASKA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: None required in statute.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of cores of prior districts.
  • Prohibition on intentionally favoring party, group or person (legislative only).
  • Prohibition on intentionally protecting an incumbent (congressional only).
  • Prohibition on using partisan data.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute; however, the Nebraska rules contain several such provisions:

  • Public comment and testimony: After statistics and plans are made publicly available, the committee shall schedule and hold, as expeditiously as reasonably possible, at least one public hearing in each congressional district of the state to solicit input on the proposed plans.
  • Public hearings and access: The committee shall at the earliest feasible time make available to the public the substantive guidelines prepared by the committee.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The senate passed LB 704 in May 2011.  
  • State senate: The Senate passed LB 703 in May 2011.   
  • State House: N/A (Note: Nebraska has a unicameral, nonpartisan legislature.)

Prisoner reallocation: Nebraska does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Nebraska’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. The districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature, and it is the only legislature whose members are elected on a nonpartisan basis.

Nebraska uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. In 2016, the legislature passed LB 580, a bill which gave the power to draw districts for the legislature’s approval in an up-or-down vote to a commission (a system somewhat similar to that used in Iowa). However, the governor vetoed the bill, and the legislature did not attempt to override.

In 2020, the secretary of state approved language for petitions to be circulated for a citizen initiative that would transfer redistricting power from the legislature to a new commission. If a sufficient number of signatures are gathered, it will appear on the 2020 general election ballot.

NEVADA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: In the first session after the taking of the decennial census (in this case, 2021; legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of cores of prior districts.
  • Avoid pairing incumbents.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes for all district types: The legislature passed SB 497 in May 2011, which was vetoed by the governor. In response, the legislature passed a modified redistricting plan in AB 566 shortly thereafter, but it was also vetoed. When the state legislature adjourned in 2011 without having adopted new legislative maps, the task fell to the courts; a state court ultimately adopted new maps for legislative and congressional districts in October 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: Nevada will reallocate prisoners for the first time in the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Nevada’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. The districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. Nevada uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.

At the time of publication, signature-gathering for a citizen initiative campaign that would transfer redistricting power to a commission is underway. If it qualifies for the ballot and is approved by voters in 2020, it would need to pass again in a second general election (2022) before it went into effect. If this were to occur, legislative and congressional districts adopted in 2021 may only be used in 2022, as the commission would likely redraw the state’s districts in 2023.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: By the end of the regular session after the decennial census (2021 for legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Contiguity (legislative only).
  • Preservation of political subdivisions (legislative only).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 202 in April 2012.
  • State senate: The legislature passed SB 201 and in March 2012.
  • State house: The legislature passed HB 592 in March 2012. The governor vetoed the bill, but the veto was overridden and the bill became law.

Prisoner reallocation: New Hampshire does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw New Hampshire’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. The districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. New Hampshire uses some traditional redistricting criteria for its legislative districts and has not adopted any emerging criteria. It does not impose any state-level requirements on its congressional districts.

In 2019, the legislature passed HB 706, a bill which gave the power to draw districts for the legislature’s approval in an up-or-down vote to a commission (a system somewhat similar to that used in Iowa). The governor vetoed the bill, and the legislature did not override. 

NEW JERSEY

State flag

Who draws state senate lines:  New Jersey Apportionment Commission.

Who draws state house lines: New Jersey Apportionment Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: New Jersey Redistricting Commission.

Redistricting deadline: One month after the state receives the census data, or on or before Feb. 1 of the year following the year in which the census is taken, whichever is later (legislative); on or before the third Tuesday of each year ending in 2, or within three months after receipt in each decade by the appropriate state officer of the official statement by the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, whichever is later (congressional).

Criteria used for legislative redistricting:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public map submissions: The congressional commission must review written plans for congressional districts submitted by members of the public (time permitting).
  • Public hearings and access: The congressional commission shall hold at least three public hearings in different parts of the state.
  • Notice: The congressional commission must give public notice 24 hours before meeting to vote on certifying final maps.  

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The commission approved new maps in December 2011 (see here).
  • State senate and house: The commission approved new maps in April 2011 (see here).

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown:
    • Congressional commission: Six Demcrats, six Republicans. Those 12 select a 13th commissioner to serve as chair. If they are unable to select the 13th member, they will present two names to the state Supreme Court, which will choose the chair.
    • Legislative commission: Five Demcrats, five Republicans. If those 10 cannot agree on a map, an 11th tiebreaking member (in practice, unaffiliated with either major party) is chosen by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.
  • Qualifications:
    • Congressional commission: Cmmissioners may not be congressmembers or their employees. The selection process shall give due consideration to geographic, ethnic and racial diversity.
    • Legislative commission: The selectin process shall give due consideration to the representation of the various geographical areas of the state.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Congressional commission:
      • Two members appointed by the president of the Senate.
      • Two members appointed by the speaker of the General Assembly.
      • Two members appointed by the minority leader of the Senate.
      • Two members appointed by the minority leader of the General Assembly.
      • Two members appointed by the chairman of the state committee of the political party whose candidate for governor received the largest number of votes at the most recent gubernatorial election.
      • Two members appointed by the chairman of the state committee of the political party whose candidate for governor received the second-largest number of votes at the most recent gubernatorial election.
      • If those 12 commissioners deadlock on a plan, the two partisan sides of the commission will present a name to the state Supreme Court, which will choose one party’s name to break the tie.
    • Legislative commission: Five members appinted by the chairman of the party receiving the largest number of votes at the most recent gubernatorial election. Five members appointed by the chairman of the party receiving the second-largest number of votes at the most recent gubernatorial election. If those 10 commissioners deadlock on a plan, the chief justice of the state Supreme Court will appoint an 11th member to break the tie.

Prisoner reallocation: New Jersey will reallocate prisoners for the first time in the 2020 cycle.

Summary

Since the 1960s, the power to draw New Jersey’s legislative districts has rested with the state’s Apportionment Commission. In the 1990s, New Jersey passed a constitutional amendment giving the power to draw congressional districts to a new and separate commission, the New Jersey Redistricting Commission. New Jersey uses some traditional criteria to draw its state legislative districts and does not impose any state-level requirements on its congressional districts. Traditionally, the tiebreaking commissioners have used their positions to impose additional criteria on the mapmaking process; those criteria vary from decade to decade, depending on the priorities of the tiebreaking commissioner.

For more information on this process, see “Legislative Redistricting by the New Jersey Plan: A Report for the Fund for New Jersey,” written by Professor Donald Stokes of Princeton, a former tiebreaking commissioner on the legislative commission.

NEW MEXICO

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: None required in statute.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Communities of interest.
  • Preserving the cores of prior districts (permitted but not required).
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute. In 2011, the statutorily established Interim Redistricting Committee traveled across the state to receive public comment.

2010 cycle outcomes:

Prisoner reallocation: New Mexico does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw New Mexico’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. For the second decade in a row, courts were forced to draw the state legislative and congressional district maps in 2012. Those maps remained in effect throughout the decade.

New Mexico uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria (although legislation which would have done so was introduced in the 2019 legislative session). In Maestas v. Hall, 274 P.3d 66 (N.M. 2012), the New Mexico Supreme Court declared that all future judicially drawn maps in the state must comply with the New Mexico Legislative Council’s recommended redistricting criteria, which includes the bulleted rules above as well as using single-member districts and not splitting voting precincts. The court also declared that courts should not select a plan that seeks partisan advantage, but rather one that is partisan-neutral.

NEW YORK

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Independent Redistricting Commission prepares maps for the legislature’s consideration.

Who draws congressional lines: Independent Redistricting Commission prepares maps for the legislature’s consideration.

Redistricting deadline: The commission must combine the legislative plans into one proposed bill and submit it to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2022 (with an allowance to submit as late as Jan. 15, 2022, if necessary). If the legislature rejects the first plan or the governor vetoes it, the commission must submit a second plan to the legislature no later than Feb. 28, 2022. If the legislature rejects the first and second plans, there is no deadline for the legislature itself to act.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Preservation of the cores of prior districts.
  • Competitiveness.
  • Prohibition on favoring or disfavoring an incumbent, candidate or party.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public map submissions: At least 30 days before the first public hearing, the commission must make all maps and their underlying information or data publicly available so the public may develop alternative plans to present to the commission at public hearings.
  • Public hearings and access: The commission must conduct at least one hearing in the cities of Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and White Plains, and in Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
  • Notice: Notice of hearings shall be widely published and in a reasonable time before all such hearings.

Commission composition:

  • Partisan Breakdown:
    • None required for the legislatively appointed members. The commissioner-appointed members may not be registered with either of the two largest parties in the state by voter registration.
    • Functionally, four Democrats, four Republicans and two of neither of those parties.
  • Qualifications:
    • Only registered New York voters are eligible to serve as commissioners. Additionally, no member shall within the last three years:
      • Be or have been a member of the New York state legislature or United States Congress or a statewide elected official.
      • Be or have been a state officer or employee or legislative employee.
      • Be or have been a registered lobbyist in New York state.
      • Be or have been a political party chairman.
      • Be the spouse of a statewide elected official or of any member of Congress or of the state legislature.
    • To the extent practicable, the members of the commission shall reflect the diversity of the residents of New York with regard to race, ethnicity, gender, language and geographic residence.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Two members each shall be appointed by:
      • The temporary president of the Senate.
      • The speaker of the Assembly.
      • The minority leader of the Senate.
      • The minority leader of the Assembly.
    • Those eight commissioners shall approve, by a majority vote, two additional members who have not for the past five years been registered with either of the two political parties containing the largest or second largest number of registered voters within the state.

2010 cycle outcomes (note: in 2010, the legislature drew the maps):

  • Congressional: The legislature failed to adopt new maps during the 2012 session. The task fell to a federal court, which adopted new maps in May 2012.
  • Legislative: The legislature passed A 9525 in March 2012. Two weeks later, the legislature passed technical corrections to the new maps.

Prisoner reallocation: New York began reallocating prisoners during the 2010 cycle.

Summary

For all redistricting up through the 2010 cycle, the power to draw new district maps in New York—like in the vast majority of states—rested with the state legislature. An advisory commission assisted the legislature in its task, but the legislature was free to ignore the commission’s recommendations. In 2014, voters approved a legislatively referred constitutional amendment to create a new advisory commission. While a novel system not used in any other state, the new commission may be characterized as somewhat analogous to the system used in Iowa.

Once the new advisory commission is created, it will draw maps for the legislature to approve in an up-or-down vote. If the legislature rejects the commission’s first map, the commission will redraw the map and submit a second version to the legislature for another up-or-down vote. Only if the legislature rejects this second map does it gain the power to draw districts on its own, but it may still comply with the same traditional and emerging criteria by which the commission was bound.

Under the new advisory commission scheme, the number of legislative votes required to approve a commission-drawn map varies depending on the political makeup of the legislature:

  • If (i) the speaker of the Assembly and the temporary president of the Senate are members of different political parties and (ii) the commission recommends a map to the legislature with at least seven votes in favor, one of which is by an appointee of the Assembly speaker and one of which is by an appointee of the temporary Senate president, then only a simple majority (50% + one) is required for legislative approval of a map.
  • If (i) the speaker of the Assembly and the president of the Senate are members of different political parties and (ii) the commission is unable to recommend a map to the legislature with at least seven votes in favor, then the map that the commission recommends to the legislature can only pass with a three-fifths majority (60%).
  • If the speaker of the Assembly and the president of the Senate are members of the same party, then a two-thirds majority (66%) is required for legislative approval of a map.

NORTH CAROLINA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: At the first regular session convening after the return of every decennial census (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest (legislative only).
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 453 in July 2011. Litigation began shortly thereafter. In February 2016, a federal three-judge panel struck down two of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts on racial gerrymandering grounds. The legislature passed a remedial map (“the 2016 map”; SB 2) shortly thereafter. In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the three-judge panel’s opinion, necessitating the use of the 2016 map in future elections. However, litigation began against 2016 map on partisan gerrymandering grounds. The plaintiffs twice prevailed before a federal three-judge panel (in January 2018 and, following orders by the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider their opinion in light of Gill v. Whitford, in August 2018). The Supreme Court reversed the August 2018 ruling in the landmark case of Rucho v. Common Cause. Having failed in federal court, plaintiffs filed a new lawsuit in state court arguing that the 2016 map violated various provisions of the state Constitution. In October 2019, the state court issued a preliminary injunction against the 2016 map for probable violations of the state Constitution. While the litigation is ongoing, the state legislature passed a new remedial map, HB 1029, in November 2019 (“the 2019 map”); unless the status of the current case changes, the 2019 map will be used in the 2020 congressional elections.
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed SB 455 (state Senate map) and HB 937 (state House map) in July 2011. It then passed technical corrections to the Senate and House maps in November 2011. Litigation began shortly thereafter. In 2016, a federal three-judge panel struck down parts of both maps on racial gerrymandering grounds. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the three-judge panel’s opinion in June 2017. In response, the legislature passed remedial maps for the Senate and House in August 2017, although these remedies went beyond the districts it was ordered to redraw and included the recrafting of several districts in a different part of the state. In January 2018, the three-judge panel declined to accept the legislature’s maps because the remedial maps redrew districts beyond those the court had ordered to be redrawn, and instead accepted maps drawn by a special master. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that a combination of the legislature’s remedial maps and the special master’s maps be used in future elections (“the 2017 maps”). In November 2018, a state court subsequently struck down part of the 2017 maps (the districts that had been recrafted) for violating the state Constitution’s prohibition on mid-decade redistricting. Before the legislature enacted a remedy to this court challenge, yet another state court struck down the entirety of the 2017 maps for violating the state Constitution’s guarantee of free elections. The legislature adopted new remedial maps (“the 2019 maps”) for the Senate and House in September 2019.  

Prisoner reallocation: North Carolina does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw North Carolina’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. Unlike in most states, and per the state Constitution, the governor cannot veto any plans drawn by the legislature. North Carolina uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.

Courts were heavily involved in redistricting North Carolina during the 2010 redistricting cycle. In 2019, a state court found district maps in effect since 2017, themselves remedial maps from a prior case, to be partisan gerrymanders in violation of the state’s free elections clause. This makes North Carolina one of two states this decade (the other being Pennsylvania) where courts have found the state’s constitutional guarantee of free and equal elections, or some variation thereof, to prohibit partisan gerrymandering. These novel claims are likely to feature prominently in the 2020 redistricting cycle.

NORTH DAKOTA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: None (at-large district). If North Dakota were to be awarded a second congressional seat, the legislature would draw congressional lines.

Redistricting deadline: Before the adjournment of the first regular session after each decennial census (2021).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of cores of prior districts.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: None (at-large district).
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed HB 1473 during a special session in November 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: North Dakota does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw North Dakota’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. However, the state only engages in legislative redistricting because North Dakota is apportioned one at-large congressional district. North Dakota uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. While there is no constitutional deadline for redistricting, the legislature traditionally adopts new maps before the end of years ending in 1.

In April 2020, the secretary of state approved language for a citizen initiative which would transfer redistricting power to draw legislative maps from the legislature to the state’s Ethics Commission. The initiative is currently being circulated for signatures. If enough signatures are gathered, it will appear on the November 2020 ballot.

OHIO

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Ohio Redistricting Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature (with a bipartisan majority vote); if it cannot do so, a complex backup system involving both the legislature and the Ohio Redistricting Commission is used.

Redistricting deadline: No later than Sept. 1 of a year ending in 1 (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness (congressional only; must attempt to achieve for legislative districts).
  • Contiguity (defined by the “single nonintersecting continuous line” test).
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Prohibition on favoring or disfavoring an incumbent or party (must “attempt” to achieve for legislative districts; mandatory for congressional districts if the legislature does not pass maps by the required bipartisan vote).
  • Proportionality (must “attempt” to achieve for legislative districts only).

Public access and input rules:

  • Public map submissions: The legislature or commission shall facilitate and allow for the submission of proposed congressional district maps by members of the public. Submitted maps must include a legal description of the boundaries and all electronic data needed to create a congressional district map.
  • Public comment and testimony: The legislature or commission must seek public input on proposed legislative maps at public hearings. If the General Assembly has not adopted a final legislative map by Sept. 1 in the year ending in 1, then it must hold public hearings on the proposed map and accept public testimony and amendments to the map.  
  • Public hearings and access: Before the legislature or commission adopts a congressional map, a joint committee of the legislature and commission shall hold at least two public hearings on a proposed congressional map. After introducing (but before adopting) a legislative map, the proposed map must be released to the public. The commission must conduct at least three public hearings across the state to present the map and shall seek public input regarding the proposed legislative map. All meetings of the commission are open to the public and are to be broadcast by electronic transmission that is readily accessible to the public.

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None required. Constitutional language implicitly assumes partisan officials who appoint commissioners will select persons of same party, but such selection is not required by law.
  • Qualifications: No appointed commissioner shall be a current member of Congress.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Autmatically serve as a commissioner:
      • The governor.
      • The auditor of state.
      • The secretary of state.
    • One cmmissioner appointed by each of the following:
      • Speaker of the House.
      • President of the Senate.
      • Leader of the largest political party in the House of which the speaker of the House is not a member.
      • Leader of the largest political party in the Senate of which the president of the Senate is not a member.

2010 cycle outcomes (Note: legislature drew districts in 2010 cycle):

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 319 in September 2011 and replaced it with HB 369 in December 2011.
  • State senate and house: The politician commission passed Senate and House maps in September 2011.  

Prisoner reallocation: Ohio began reallocating prisoners during the 2010 cycle.

Summary

Through the 2010 cycle, the power to draw new district maps in Ohio was divided. For congressional districts, the legislature maintained the power to draw district lines via ordinary statute, which was subject to the governor’s veto. For legislative districts, a commission composed of legislative and executive officials had responsibility for drawing maps. In 2015, voters approved a legislatively referred constitutional amendment to expand the number of commissioners from five to seven and added emerging criteria to the state constitution.

In 2018, voters approved another legislatively referred constitutional amendment to create a novel redistricting process for congressional districts. It is a multistep process with changing criteria depending on how new maps are ultimately adopted:

  • The legislature has the first chance to draw new congressional districts. If three-fifths of the members of each chamber of the legislature, including at least half the members of each of the two largest political parties in the chamber, approve of the map, then it becomes law.
  • If by Sept. 30, 2021, the legislature has yet to adopt new maps, the power to redistrict shifts to the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which must adopt new maps by a bipartisan vote by Oct. 31, 2021.
  • If by Nov. 1, 2021, the commission has yet to adopt new maps, the task of drawing new maps shifts back to the legislature, which must adopt a plan by Nov. 30. It may do so by a simple majority vote, but any maps adopted without votes from both parties are only valid for four years and (uniquely to these maps) cannot be drawn to unduly favor or disfavor a political party or incumbent.

The state Constitution designates the state Supreme Court as the venue for all state law challenges.

OKLAHOMA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: Within 90 days after the convening of the first regular session of the legislature following each federal decennial census (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Preservation of the cores of prior districts (permitted but not required).
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required).

Public access and input rules: The state Supreme Court will review a redistricting plan if a qualified voter petitions within 60 days of the plan’s filing and sets forth an alternative plan that is more in accordance with the required criteria.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 1527 in May 2011.
  • State senate: The legislature passed SB 821 in May 2011.
  • State house: The legislature passed HB 2145 in May 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: Oklahoma does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Oklahoma’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute and are subject to the governor’s veto. While state law does not require that public hearings be held, in past cycles, the House and Senate held public hearings around the state to gather input from citizens and accepted map submissions for statewide legislative plans from the public. The House is currently accepting public input through email at RedistrictOklahoma2020@okhouse.gov.

Oklahoma uses some traditional criteria to draw its district maps and has not adopted any emerging criteria. It did not see any successful court challenges to maps adopted in the 2010 redistricting cycle.

OREGON

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: By July 1 of the year of the odd-numbered regular session following the census (note: July 1, 2021). If there is no legislative plan enacted by July 1, the secretary of state adopts new maps by Aug. 15 (legislative). By July 1 of the year of the odd-numbered year regular session (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Prohibition on intentionally favoring a party, person or incumbent.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public comment and testimony: The legislature or secretary of state must permit and make provisions for people at remote sites throughout the state to give public testimony at the hearings through the use of video equipment.
  • Public hearings and access: The legislature or secretary of state must hold at least 10 public hearings throughout the state prior to proposing a plan. At least one of the hearings must be in each congressional district in the state. At least one of these hearings must be in an area that has had the largest population shift since the previous reapportionment, and the legislature or secretary of state shall prioritize holding additional hearings in this area. After a plan is proposed but before it is adopted, the legislature or secretary of state shall, to the extent practicable, hold five public hearings in the state’s five congressional districts, or with videoconference technology, to permit active citizen participation throughout the state.
  • Notice: Legislature or secretary of state must provide appropriate public notice of the time and location of each hearing.
  • Citizen-initiated review: The state Supreme Court will review the plan if a qualified elector petitions the court on or before Aug. 1 of the year in which the plan is enacted.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 990 in June 2011.
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed SB 989 in June 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: Oregon will reallocate prisoners for the first time in the 2020 cycle.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Oregon’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute and are subject to the governor’s veto. If the legislature fails to enact new maps by the state constitutional deadline, two backup mechanisms kick into effect. For legislative districts, the secretary of state is directed to adopt new maps by Aug. 15. For congressional districts, citizens are empowered to file a special lawsuit in a designated county court. After filing, the chief justice of the state Supreme Court appoints retired judges to a panel that adopts congressional districts for the Supreme Court to review and approve.  

Oregon has adopted both traditional and emerging criteria for its legislative and congressional districts. In addition to the criteria listed above, Oregon law requires that districts be connected by transportation links and that they preserve the voting strength of language and ethnic minority groups.

As of this writing, the secretary of state has approved language for three separate citizen initiatives (57, 58 and 59) which—if the requisite number of signatures are gathered and one or more of these measures is approval by voters in the 2020 general election—would transfer the power to draw at least some of the state’s districts to a commission.

PENNSYLVANIA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: No later than 90 days after either the commission has been certified or the census data is released (whichever is later), commission must release its preliminary redistricting maps (legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public hearings and access: Any plan filed by the commission or ordered by the state Supreme Court shall be published by the chief elections officer in at least one newspaper of general circulation in each senatorial and representative district, showing the complete reapportionment plan by district, a map showing districts in the area normally served by the publishing newspaper, and the populations and variations of all districts in the plan (legislative only).
  • Citizen-initiated review: The state Supreme Court will review the plan if they are petitioned by an “aggrieved person” within 30 days of a proposed plan’s filing or within 30 days of the final plan’s official filing (legislative only).

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None required in statute; functionally, two Democrats, two Republicans and one chair who may be of any (or no) party.
  • Qualifications:
    • The chair must be a citizen f the commonwealth.
    • The chair may nt hold a local, state or federal office that is compensated.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Autmatically receive commissioner position as part of their office; if they wish, they may appoint someone to serve in their stead:
      • Senate majority leader.
      • Senate minority leader.
      • House majority leader.
      • House minority leader.
    • The abve four commissioners select a fifth commissioner, who serves as chair. If they are unable to do so, a majority of the state Supreme Court appoints the chair.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 1249 in December 2011. The state Supreme Court struck down the entire congressional map in 2018 on state constitutional grounds. A remedial map drawn by a special master was ultimately adopted to replace the map drawn by the legislature in 2011.  
  • State senate and house: The commission approved final Senate and House maps in 2012, but these were not used until 2014 because of the late adoption time.

Prisoner reallocation: Pennsylvania does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Pennsylvania’s congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. This veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber. Pennsylvania’s legislative districts are drawn by a commission consisting of the four legislative leaders (or their designees) and a chair who may not be a compensated local, state or federal official.

Pennsylvania’s legislative and congressional district maps were heavily litigated during the 2010 redistricting cycle. In 2018, the state Supreme Court struck down all 18 of the state’s congressional districts for being drawn with a level of partisanship that violated the state constitutional guarantee of free and equal elections. A novel legal theory, it gave rise to a doctrinally similar holding in North Carolina in 2019. These new claims, known as “Free and/or Equal Elections” claims, are a new front in redistricting litigation that many experts anticipate will become more common in the next decade. Effectively, it added a new judicially identified “emerging” criterion in the state Constitution: that districts may not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring a political party. The case only applies to congressional districting.

RHODE ISLAND

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: None required in statute.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes for all district types:

  • The legislature passed S 924 in June 2011, creating an advisory commission to assist the legislature in redistricting during the 2010 redistricting cycle. The legislature passed S 2178 and H 7209 in February 2012, redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts.

Prisoner reallocation: Rhode Island does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Rhode Island’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The legislature can override the governor’s veto by a vote of three-fifths of its members in each chamber. In 2011, the legislature created an advisory commission (for only the 2010 redistricting cycle) to assist it in this task. The commission consisted of 18 members:

  • Four legislators appointed by the speaker of the House.
  • Two legislators appointed by the minority leader of the House.
  • Four legislators appointed by the president of the Senate.
  • Two legislators appointed by the minority leader of the Senate.
  • Three members of the public appointed by the speaker.
  • Three members of the public appointed by the Senate president.

The commission’s recommendations were not binding on the legislature, which was free to adopt maps of its own. Rhode Island uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.

SOUTH CAROLINA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: None required in statute.

Criteria used: In accordance with historical precedent, South Carolina adopted an extensive list of criteria through two legislative resolutions (here and here). In the 2010 cycle, the criteria adopted were:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Preservation of the cores of prior districts.
  • Avoid pairing incumbents.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed H 3992 in July 2011.
  • State senate: The legislature passed S 815 in June 2011.
  • State house: The legislature passed H 3991 in June 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: South Carolina does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw South Carolina’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The legislature can override the governor’s veto by a vote of two-thirds of its members in each chamber. Through historical precedent, South Carolina uses some traditional redistricting criteria not found in statute and has not adopted any emerging criteria. There were no successful legal challenges to South Carolina’s maps during the 2010 redistricting cycle.

SOUTH DAKOTA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: None (at-large congressional district).

Redistricting deadline: By Dec. 1 of the year in which redistricting is required (note: 2022; legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: N/A (at-large congressional district)
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed HB 1001 during a special session in October 2011.

Prisoner reallocation: South Dakota does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw South Dakota’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. Legislative rules permit the legislature to draw legislative districts by joint resolution if it so chooses, bypassing a potential gubernatorial veto. When passed as a bill, the legislature can override the governor’s veto by a vote of two-thirds of its members in each chamber. South Dakota uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. There were no successful legal challenges to South Carolina’s maps during the 2010 redistricting cycle.

TENNESSEE

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: None required in statute.

Criteria used (legislative only):

  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 1558 in January 2012.
  • State senate: The legislature passed SB 1514 in January 2012.
  • State house: The legislature passed HB 1555 in January 2012.

Prisoner reallocation: Tennessee does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Tennessee’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The legislature can override the governor’s veto by a vote of a simple majority of its members in each chamber. Tennessee uses some traditional redistricting criteria for its legislative districts and has not adopted any emerging criteria. It does not impose any state-level rules on the way its congressional districts are drawn. There were no successful legal challenges to Tennessee’s maps during the 2010 redistricting cycle.

TEXAS

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: First legislative session following receipt of census data (note: normally 2021, but it’s unclear if that will be the case in this coming cycle).

Criteria used (legislative only):

  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Initial maps (2011):
    • Congressional: SB 4 (preclearance denied).
    • State house: HB 150 (preclearance denied).
    • State senate: SB 31 (preclearance denied).
  • Remedial Maps (2013):
    • Congressional: SB 4 (in effect).
    • State house: SB 3 (declared unconstitutional in part by Abbtt v. Perez);
    • State senate: SB 2(in effect).
  • Notes on litigation affecting all three sets of maps:
    • In 2011, Texas was subject t Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required the state to obtain “preclearance” from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court before it could implement new redistricting maps. After preclearance was initially denied, a federal court in Texas (considering a separate challenge to the 2011 maps under 14th Amendment and Voting Rights Act grounds) adopted maps for both legislative chambers and for congressional seats. The Texas legislature formally adopted those court-drawn maps via statue in 2013 (see Remedial maps, above).
    • The 2013 remedial maps were challenged in federal curt under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The trial court held the 2013 remedial maps to be in violation of both provisions. In 2018, the Supreme Court reversed, holding only one House district to be a racial gerrymander.

Prisoner reallocation: Texas does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Texas’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. This veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber.

Courts were heavily involved in redistricting Texas in the 2000 and 2010 cycles. When the legislature did not pass any maps in its 2001 session, a federal court ultimately drew congressional maps for the 2002 elections. In 2003, the legislature passed new maps (after several attempts by some legislators to flee the state to deny the majority a quorum), which were adopted. They were subject to extensive litigation and were ultimately struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court as violations of the Voting Rights Act. The remedial maps adopted by the district court in 2006 to remedy those violations were used for the remainder of the decade. As for state legislative districts, after the legislature’s failure to draw lines, the backup commission drew maps for both the state Senate and state House. While the Senate maps were adopted without incident, the House maps were ultimately drawn by a federal court.

Since 2011, Texas’s district maps have been subject to near-constant litigation. This section of the report only includes the lawsuits that impacted which maps were in effect. For information on the other challenges to Texas’s maps this decade, see NCSL’s webpage on this topic: http://www.ncsl.org/research/redistricting/redistricting-case-summaries-2010-present.aspx.

UTAH

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Utah Independent Redistricting     Commission prepares maps for the legislature’s consideration.

Who draws congressional lines: Utah Independent Redistricting Commission prepares maps for the legislature’s consideration.

Redistricting deadline: A complex timeline with contingent dates:*

  • X Date in 2021: Utah receives data from the Census Bureau to redistrict.
  • 120 calendar days following X date, or Aug. 31, 2021 (whichever is later): Advisory commission must conduct its last public hearing.
  • 30 calendar days following the last public hearing, or Aug. 31, 2021 (whichever is later): Advisory commission must adopt a map.
  • No more than 10 days prior to a legislative vote on a redistricting map: Advisory commission must submit its adopted map for legislative consideration.

*Underlying these deadlines is the rule that a map must be enacted by the legislature during the first annual general legislative session after the legislature receives census data. Ten days must lapse between a map being recommended to the legislature and a vote in the legislature on that map.

Criteria used:

  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Compactness (with a caveat if following natural geographic boundaries).
  • Contiguity.
  • Communities of interest.
  • Prohibition on favoring an incumbent or party.
  • Prohibition on using partisan data.

Public access and input rules:

  • Public map submissions: The commission must maintain a website or similar electronic platform that allows the public to submit plans (or comment on plans) and view records of meetings and hearings. The commission may consider any plan submitted to it by any person or organization, and the commission shall make available to the public and other commissioners all plans or elements of plans submitted to them.
  • Public hearings and access: The commission must hold at least seven public hearings throughout the state related to redistricting, with at least one hearing in different regions and at least one hearing in different categories of counties as defined by Utah law. The commission must adopt a final plan no later than 30 days after the last public hearing.

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown:
    • Tw Democrats.
    • Tw Republicans.
    • Tw persons unaffiliated with either major party.
    • One tiebreaking chair.
  • Qualifications:
    • T qualify as a commissioner, a nominee may not have been, for at least four years prior to their term:
      • A registered lobbyist.
      • Represented by a lobbyist.
      • Appointed by the governor or legislature to any public office.
      • A candidate for, or holder of, any political party office.
      • Compensated by a political party, party committee, individual campaign committee or political action committee affiliated with or controlled by an elected official or candidate.
      • Employed in a position reporting directly to an official holding elected office (local, state or federal), even if the official was appointed to the elected office.
    • These prhibitions continue to apply to commissioners for four years following the conclusion of their service on the commission.
  • Selection of commissioners: The governor appoints the commission chair, who functions as the tiebreaker. The other commissioners are appointed in the following manner:
    • One by the speaker f the House.
    • One by the largest minrity party in the House.
    • One by the president f the Senate.
    • One by the largest minrity party in the Senate.
    • One jintly by party leadership of the majority party in the Senate and well as its party’s leaders in the House.
    • One jintly by party leadership of the minority party in the Senate, as well as its party’s leaders in the House.

2010 cycle outcomes (note: legislature drew maps in 2010 cycle):

Prisoner reallocation: Utah does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

In the 2010 redistricting cycle, Utah’s congressional and state legislative maps, as in most states, were adopted by the legislature as statutes and signed into law by the governor.

In 2018, Utah voters approved a citizen initiative creating an advisory commission process to remove some—but not all—of the legislature’s role in redistricting. The advisory commission will be used for the first time in 2021. For a map to be recommended to the legislature, it must receive the votes of at least five commissioners. The legislature is not permitted to alter the commission’s maps except where necessary to correct technical errors. However, the legislature is not required to accept a map from the advisory commission. If the legislature decides to adopt its own map in lieu of a commission-recommended map, it must publish a report explaining why it rejected the commission’s recommendations and why its map better satisfies the state’s redistricting criteria.

When Utah adopted the advisory commission, it also adopted several new redistricting criteria, including emerging criteria.

For states in which an entity other than the legislature draws district maps, we have used that entity’s proper name as codified in state law. These names do not always reflect its function, as is the case here. While Utah’s advisory commission is titled “Independent,” it is not independent of legislative influence or control and is more properly understood to be advisory.

The Utah Constitution explicitly requires state legislative districts to be drawn by the state legislature: “[T]he Legislature shall divide the state into congressional, legislative, and other districts accordingly.” (Utah Constitution, Article IX, Section 1.) Under Utah’s statutorily enacted commission system, the legislature is permitted to ignore the commission’s advice and draw its own district lines. Nevertheless, the question of whether Utah’s statutory scheme comports with the state Constitution remains unresolved.

VERMONT

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature, with advice of the Vermont Apportionment Board.

Who draws congressional lines: None (at-large district).

Redistricting deadline: A tentative plan from the Vermont Apportionment Board is due to the legislature on or before July 1 of the year following each decennial census; the final proposal is due no later than Aug. 15.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest.
  • Avoid pairing incumbents (permitted but not required).

Public access and input rules:

  • Public hearings and access: A copy of the final legislative plan shall be available for public inspection.
  • Citizen-initiated review: The state Supreme Court may review the plan if five or more people petition the court within 30 days of the plan’s enactment.

Advisory commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown:
    • Tw commissioners from each qualifying political party plus the “special master” appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.
    • Functinally: Two Democrats, two Republicans, two Prgressives and ne “special master.”
  • Qualifications:
    • Commissioners must have been residents of Vermont for at least five years immediately preceding appointment.
    • No commissioner shall serve as a member or employee of the state legislature.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • The governor appoints one commissioner from each political party that had at least three legislators, not all from the same county, in office for at least six of the previous 10 years.
    • The chief justice of state Supreme Court appoints one commissioner (called a “special master”).
    • Each of the political parties qualifying for a commissioner appointed by the governor appoints a commissioner.
    • The secretary of state serves as the nonvoting secretary of the board.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: None (at-large district).
  • State senate and house: The Vermont Apportionment Board proposed maps to the state legislature in September 2011. The legislature passed final maps in April 2012.

Prisoner reallocation: Vermont does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Vermont’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The legislature is aided in this task by an advisory commission, the Vermont Apportionment Board. Composed of a combination of gubernatorial appointees, political party appointees and a “special master” appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court, the commission proposes maps for the legislature’s consideration. The legislature may adopt or modify the commission’s recommended maps, or it may reject them and draft maps of its own. Vermont uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.

VIRGINIA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: By the end of years ending in 1.  

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of communities of interest (beginning in 2021). These are defined as “a neighborhood or any geographically defined group of people living in an area who share similar social, cultural and economic interests,” and specifically excludes communities based on political affiliations of any kind.
  • Prohibition on unduly favoring or disfavoring a political party (beginning in 2021).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed HB 251 in January 2012. Litigation ensued, and in October 2014 the map was partially struck down by a federal three-judge panel for the unconstitutional use of race in redistricting. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the ruling and sent it back to the three-judge panel for reconsideration in light of the holding in another recent case. The three-judge panel once again partially struck down the map on the same legal grounds. The congressmembers in the unconstitutional districts appealed the ruling once again to the U.S. Supreme Court, but their appeal was dismissed by the justices for a lack of standing. New maps were adopted in 2015 by a special master.
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed HB 5001 in April 2011, but it was vetoed by the governor. With the two chambers of the legislature controlled by different parties, they were unable to override the veto. Instead, they passed a new bill, HB 5005, later in April 2011. Litigation ensued, and in 2018 several state House districts were struck down for the unconstitutional use of race in redistricting. The state House chamber appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal for a lack of standing. New House maps were adopted in 2015 by a special master.

Prisoner reallocation: Virginia will reallocate prisoners for the first time in the 2020 redistricting cycle.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Virginia’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. The maps are passed as normal statutes, which are subject to the governor’s veto. The legislature can override the veto by a vote of two-thirds of its members in each chamber. Virginia uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.

Virginia’s districts were subject to extensive litigation in the 2010 redistricting cycle; in the end, only the state Senate map was not struck down for violating the U.S. Constitution. Both the congressional and legislative district cases that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court—Personhuballah v. Alcorn and Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections—established new standing doctrine relating to redistricting cases that will affect the ability of legislatures to defend their districts for years to come.

In 2019 and 2020, the legislature passed a constitutional amendment to transfer the power to redistrict to a new commission composed of legislators and citizens. Under the state’s constitutional amendment structure, the proposed amendment will be voted on at the November 2020 general election. If the amendment passes, Virginia’s districts will henceforth be drawn by the newly created commission and submitted to the legislature for its approval. Passage of the constitutional amendment in 2020 was accompanied by H 1255, which adds protections for racial and language minorities, the reallocation of prisoners, and a prohibition on districts unduly favoring or disfavoring any political party. The provisions of H 1255 will be in effect during the upcoming cycle regardless of whether the constitutional amendment is adopted by voters.

WASHINGTON

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: Washington State Redistricting Commission.

Who draws congressional lines: Washington State Redistricting Commission.

Redistricting deadline: Nov. 15 of the year ending in 1. At that time, the legislature has 30 days in session to amend the map. If the commission fails to produce a map by Nov. 15, the state Supreme Court produces a map by April 30 of the year ending in 2.  

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Communities of interest.
  • Competitiveness.
  • Prohibition on favoring an incumbent or party.

Public access and input rules: The commission must hold open meetings pursuant to Washington’s Open Meetings Act and must preserve and disclose its meetings and public records. The commission must publish a report with the final plan—including the population deviations for each district, an explanation of the criteria used to make the plan, and justifications for any deviations from perfect compliance with criteria or population equality.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature exercised its right to amend the commission’s maps by a requisite two-thirds vote (see here).
  • State house and senate: Legislature exercised its right to tweak the commission’s maps by requisite two-thirds vote (see here).

Commission composition:

  • Partisan breakdown: None required. Functionally: Two Democrats, two Republicans and one unaffiliated non-voting chair.
  • Qualifications:
    • Cannot have been, within two years of appointment to the commission:
      • An elected district, county or state party officer.
      • An elected official.
    • Cannot have been, within one year of appointment to the commission, a registered lobbyist.
    • While a commissioner, cannot:
      • Campaign for elective office.
      • Participate in, or donate to, any political campaign for state or federal elective office.
    • For two years following service on the commission, cannot hold or campaign for congressional or state legislative office.
  • Selection of commissioners:
    • Majority and minority leaders in each chamber of legislature select one registered voter.
    • Those four select a fifth registered voter to serve as the nonvoting chair.

Prisoner reallocation: Washington will reallocate prisoners for the first time in the 2020 cycle.

Summary

Since the 1990 redistricting cycle, Washington’s state legislative and congressional districts have been drawn by a bipartisan commission. Composed of equal numbers of members appointed by Democrats and Republicans, its chair is unaffiliated with either major party and cannot vote on maps. A supermajority of three votes is required for the commission to adopt a district map. The legislature may amend the commission’s maps with a two-thirds vote. It exercised this power in both the 2010 and 2000 redistricting cycles by making changes to a small number of districts in both maps.

Washington requires that its district maps comply with both traditional and emerging criteria. In addition to criteria that apply solely to redistricting, Washington has also adopted a law requiring that incarcerated persons be reallocated to their last known place of residence, and to adjust race and ethnicity data accordingly. This can affect how Washington complies with the Voting Rights Act.

This requirement may be waived by the state legislature.

WEST VIRGINIA

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: None required in statute.

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 1008 in August 2011.
  • State senate: The legislature passed SB 1006 in August 2011.  
  • State house: The legislature passed HB 201 in August 2011.  

Prisoner reallocation: West Virginia does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw West Virginia’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The legislature can override the governor’s veto by a vote of a simple majority of its members in each chamber.

West Virginia uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria. In September 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court approved a population deviation of 0.79% in the state’s congressional district map despite earlier precedents requiring exact numerical equality in congressional districting. The legislature adopted the map despite this deviation in order to keep all counties whole in compliance with the state constitution.

WISCONSIN

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: State legislature.

Redistricting deadline: At its first session after the census (note: 2021; legislative); none (congressional).

Criteria used (legislative only):

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: The legislature passed SB 149 in July 2011.  
  • State senate and house: The legislature passed SB 148 in August 2011. Litigation ensued, and in March 2012 the map was partially struck down for violating the Voting Rights Act. The district court adopted remedial maps for the two affected districts. While significant litigation continued in federal court alleging unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering, the case was ultimately dismissed.

Prisoner reallocation: Wisconsin does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Wisconsin’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature. These districts are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The legislature can override the governor’s veto by a two-thirds majority of its members in each chamber. Wisconsin uses some traditional redistricting criteria for its legislative districts and has not adopted any emerging criteria. It does not impose any state-level criteria on the construction of its congressional districts.

WYOMING

State flag

Who draws state legislative lines: State legislature.

Who draws congressional lines: None (at-large district).

Redistricting deadline: At the first budget session of the legislature following the federal census (note: 2022).

Criteria used:

  • Compactness.
  • Contiguity.
  • Preservation of political subdivisions.
  • Preservation of communities of interest (legislative only).

Public access and input rules: None required in statute.

2010 cycle outcomes:

  • Congressional: None (at-large district).
  • State senate: The legislature passed HB 32 in March 2012.

Prisoner reallocation: Wyoming does not reallocate prisoners.

Summary

As in most states, the power to draw Wyoming’s legislative and congressional districts rests with the legislature, though it does not redistrict for Congress because it is only apportioned a single district. District maps are drawn by statute, meaning they can be vetoed by the governor. The legislature can override the governor’s veto by a two-thirds majority vote of its members in each chamber. Wyoming uses some traditional redistricting criteria and has not adopted any emerging criteria.