February Redistricting Roundup: Districts on the Docket
With Louisiana finally starting to vote on draft proposals for new maps, every state has begun the redistricting process. Since our last roundup, ten more states have finished approving maps for the next decade. But courtroom battles are also heating up, as North Carolina and Alaska joined Ohio in having their maps overturned by a court. As the number of states that have yet to pass maps dwindles, litigation will take center stage in this year’s redistricting drama.
Here’s an update of where redistricting stands as the battle begins shifting from the statehouse to the courtroom.
States with Approved Maps
Unless a court steps in, 36 states have new congressional and legislative maps in place for the 2022 elections. States without any new updates since approving maps aren’t included here, but be sure to check out our past roundups in November, December and January to learn what went down.
States With Proposed Maps
As primary elections draw closer, states — or in some cases courts — are working to finalize new districts. Montana — which has yet to begin work on new legislative maps — hasn’t had any new updates since we last highlighted it in December, so it’s not included here.
Congressional: June 13, 2022
Legislative: June 13, 2022
Florida congressional redistricting is stuck in a stalemate between the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is pushing for a more aggressive gerrymandered congressional map than what the Senate passed in January. DeSantis also sought an advisory opinion from the state Supreme Court over the legality of the current 5th Congressional District, a majority-Black district in northern Florida, although the court declined to issue one. On Feb. 14, DeSantis submitted a second proposal even more aggressive than his first — it looks like Florida Republicans have significant differences to work out among themselves before they agree on a new congressional map. Meanwhile, the Legislature’s proposed state House and Senate redistricting maps have gone to the Florida Supreme Court for review for compliance with the Fair Districts Amendment. The court has until March 9 to approve or reject the maps.
Congressional: July 22, 2022
Legislative: Dec. 31, 2022
Louisiana was the last state to start the redistricting process. During its special redistricting legislative session this month, the Bayou State advanced maps to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) desk. The Legislature approved new congressional and legislative maps that maintain the status quo in terms of partisanship and minority representation, rejecting Democratic-led efforts to draw additional minority seats, including the second majority-Black congressional district Edwards supports. It’s unclear if Republicans have the votes to override Edwards’ veto of any maps — Republicans have a supermajority in the Senate but not in the House, although all of the redistricting bills passed by the House so far have met the threshold to override.
Legislative: April 10, 2022
Kansas Republicans successfully overrode Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) veto of the state’s new congressional map that targets the district held by Rep. Sharice Davids (D), one of only two Native American women in Congress. The move came after furious behind-the-scenes lobbying aimed at reticent lawmakers, including an agreement to advance one senator’s bill limiting investigations of doctors. In response, two lawsuits have been filed in state court challenging the new map’s treatment of minority and Democratic voters. The second also alleges the Legislature violated its own redistricting criteria and guidelines in passing the map.
Legislative: April 3, 2022
Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed the state’s new, status quo-preserving congressional map on Jan. 24. The Legislature has yet to consider any proposals to redraw legislative boundaries.
Congressional: Feb. 22, 2022
Legislative: March 29, 2022
Missouri’s House Independent Bipartisan Citizens Commission voted unanimously on Jan. 19 to adopt a new map for the state House. The new plan increases the number of competitive districts in the state and boosts the voting power of minorities, drawing praise from both sides of the aisle. On the other hand, the commission in charge of drawing state Senate districts failed to reach an agreement, leaving the task to a panel of state judges. The state’s new congressional map, meanwhile, is stuck in limbo. Although approved by the state House, conservatives in the Senate filibustered the map, arguing it is too favorable to Democrats by maintaining the current 6-2 split. In response, the state Senate’s leadership tabled further redistricting work to move on to other topics, although the hardliners have threatened to derail the rest of the state Senate’s agenda if they don’t get what they want.
Congressional: June 1, 2022
Legislative: June 1, 2022
In an interview last month, Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who has veto power over any maps passed by the state Legislature, expressed concerns with the congressional map approved by the state House. The proposal changes New Hampshire’s two competitive congressional districts into one Democratic-leaning district and one Republican-leaning district. He said he hopes the state Senate alters the map to make both districts more competitive, as New Hampshire is “a purple state.” The state Senate has not indicated if it plans to make any significant changes to the House’s proposal.
Congressional: May 22, 2022
Pennsylvania’s Legislative Apportionment Commission approved final maps for the state’s General Assembly on Feb. 4. The new maps are an improvement over the old ones, with several metrics of partisan fairness showing they are less biased to Republicans. Good government groups and organizations focused on minority voters also praised the maps for their fairness and representation of minorities. Republicans, however, objected to the state House map and may challenge the plans in court. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s congressional map is in the hands of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf (D) failed to agree on a plan. The court held oral arguments to select a new map last Friday.
Congressional: Not applicable
Legislative: April 25, 2022
Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed a bill proposing an initial district map for the Vermont House on Feb. 2. Recognizing that census delays kept the Legislature from collecting feedback on new districts, the measure is intended to give time for Vermont municipalities to submit comments before the Legislature enacts final boundaries.
Congressional: April 15, 2022
Legislative: April 15, 2022
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has yet to issue a decision over new maps after holding oral arguments on Jan. 19.
Congressional: Not applicable
Legislative: End of 2022 Budget Session
Ahead of the 2022 budget session, lawmakers in Wyoming have agreed on a tentative “62-31” plan to redraw the state’s legislative boundaries. The proposal adds two state House districts and one state Senate district to the Legislature. Negotiations were marked by tensions between lawmakers representing urban and rural areas as well as disagreements over districts that paired incumbents together. By adding new districts, the plan ensures growing areas earn representation that doesn’t come at the expense of less-populated areas. The state House advanced the map on Feb. 16 and approved an amendment opposed by legislators from Laramie County that made its districts larger in population.
States With Overturned Maps
Alaska and North Carolina have joined Ohio in having their redistricting plans overturned — at least in part — by a court. And as Ohio demonstrates, it’s not always easy to redraw district lines in response to court orders.
Congressional: Not applicable
Legislative: April 1, 2022
On Feb. 16, an Anchorage judge in multiple cases challenging the state’s new legislative map ruled that the map, passed by the Alaska Redistricting Board, contained multiple deficiencies. In particular, the court took issue with a state Senate district linking East Anchorage with Eagle River and the drawing of a state House district in the Skagway-Juneau area. The court also faulted the Board for failing to follow public testimony and hearing guidelines in violation of the Alaska Constitution. The court remanded the map to the Board to address these issues; the Board then voted to appeal the decision to the Alaska Supreme Court.
Congressional: Feb. 23, 2022
Legislative: Feb. 23, 2022
The North Carolina Supreme Court overturned a trial court ruling upholding the state’s new congressional and legislative maps on Feb. 4. The court ruled, contrary to the trial court, that partisan gerrymandering is something state courts can rule on and that partisan gerrymandering is not allowed under the state constitution. The majority found that the “General Assembly violates the North Carolina Constitution when it deprives a voter of his or her right to substantially equal voting power on the basis of partisan affiliation.” Parties in the lawsuit were invited to submit map proposals to the trial court in the cases. The General Assembly also passed new districts on Feb. 17, though the court isn’t obligated to accept their maps. The state Supreme Court instructed the trial court to select plans compliant with the constitution no later than noon on Feb. 23.
Congressional: March 15, 2022
Legislative: Feb. 17, 2022
After the Supreme Court of Ohio struck down maps for the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Redistricting Commission passed a revised redistricting plan on a party-line vote. But on Feb. 7, the state Supreme Court ruled the new maps also violate the state constitution for failing to meet the proportionality standards. In particular, the court took issue with the Commission using the overturned maps as a starting point to draw new ones and characterized the Commission’s definition of a Democratic-leaning district as “absurd on its face.” The court ordered the Commission to submit new maps to the secretary of state by Feb. 17 and to the court for review by Feb. 18 — which it failed to do when Republicans on the commission refused to even consider new proposals that comply with the Ohio Constitution. The Supreme Court ordered the Commission to explain why it failed to meet the deadline and why it should not be held in contempt. Additionally, a group of Republican voters filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to step in and enact the second map the Commission approved. Meanwhile, the Ohio General Assembly also missed its deadline to redraw the state’s congressional map after it too was struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court. The Ohio Redistricting Commission now has until March 15 to enact a new congressional map.