February Redistricting Roundup: Districts on the Docket

A board game composed of redistricting-themed tiles and pieces featuring Kansas, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Kentucky

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.

On Jan. 24, a panel of three federal judges blocked Alabama’s congressional map from going into effect, finding the map likely violates the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by diluting the voting strength of Black Alabamians. The court ordered the state to draw a new map with a second majority-Black district. But before the state could take action, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, pausing the ruling while litigation continues. As a result, Alabama’s current map with just one majority-Black district will likely be in effect for this year’s elections. The Court’s decision was criticized by Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote in dissent that the Court’s order “does a disservice to Black Alabamians who under that precedent have had their electoral power diminished—in violation of a law this Court once knew to buttress all of American democracy.”
The Connecticut Supreme Court adopted the congressional map drawn by the court’s special master on Feb. 10. The new map represents minimal changes from the old one, with three solidly Democratic districts and two competitive, but still Democratic-leaning districts. The new map will likely maintain the status quo in the state’s congressional delegation for the next decade.
The Republican-controlled Kentucky General Assembly overrode Gov. Andy Beshear’s (D) vetoes of the state’s new congressional and state House map on Jan. 20. In response, the state Democratic party filed a lawsuit in state court against the maps. The complaint argues the maps are partisan gerrymanders that favor Republicans and unnecessarily split counties in violation of the Kentucky Constitution. Specifically, it alleges the maps violate the free and equal elections clause, equal protection rights and the right to free speech and assembly. The court declined to issue a preliminary injunction preventing the maps from being used, but stressed the action had no bearing on the merits of the case.
On Jan. 28, the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission voted 8-1 to adopt final congressional and legislative maps. The only change from the old congressional map is a slight tweak in the district lines on the island of Oahu that does not alter the status quo of two heavily-Democratic districts in any way. The legislative maps are more controversial, partially due to a last-minute demographic error that shifted House districts between islands. Residents of Oahu and Hawai’i Island, also known as the Big Island, suggested in public testimony the legislative maps don’t meet constitutional requirements and that they may sue to overturn the maps.
The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the state’s new legislative map on Jan. 27, rejecting all four challenges brought against the plan. The court similarly upheld the congressional map in a unanimous ruling on Feb. 11. As a result, all legal challenges to Idaho’s redistricting process have been resolved.
The Maryland General Assembly approved a new plan for state House and Senate districts on Jan. 27. The Assembly voted to approve a map backed by Democrats instead of a separate proposal submitted by Gov. Larry Hogan (R). The new map is not a significant departure from the current map and mostly adjusts district boundaries to account for population changes. Multiple Republican voters and elected officials have filed lawsuits in the Maryland Court of Appeals challenging the legislative map. The plaintiffs allege certain legislative districts are not contiguous, compact and do not respect natural and political boundaries in violation of the Maryland Constitution. They also assert the districts were drawn as partisan gerrymanders to favor Democrats. The court has adjusted various election administrative deadlines in response to the challenge.
The Michigan Supreme Court dismissed a challenge to the state’s new legislative and congressional maps brought by a group of state representatives, Black voters and the Romulus City Council. The plaintiffs alleged the new districts dilute the voting strength of Black voters, although the court found they did not provide evidence of racial vote dilution. There are two other suits challenging the maps still underway — one brought by Republicans arguing the congressional maps are not equal enough in population and one brought by a group of voting and civil rights advocates. A Republican commissioner has also filed a lawsuit against the commission for allegedly ignoring a Freedom of Information Act request.
After the Minnesota Legislature failed to adopt redistricting plans, on Feb. 15 a special panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court released new maps for the state’s congressional and legislative districts. Rather than adopt any of the proposals submitted by the plaintiffs in the impasse litigation, the panel redrew districts using a least-change approach, adjusting the districts as necessary to reflect population changes while adhering to politically neutral redistricting criteria. The panel also acknowledged the growth of Minnesota’s nonwhite communities and drew districts to reflect this. As a result, the new lines aren’t expected to significantly alter the political status quo in the state.
The Supreme Court of New Jersey dismissed a Republican legal challenge to the state’s new congressional map on Feb. 3. The plaintiffs had argued the map was invalid because of the “flawed vote and reasoning” by the commission’s tiebreaker, former state Supreme Court Justice John Wallace Jr. The court found that Wallace had “no disqualifying conflict” and that it doesn’t have any role in redistricting unless the map is unlawful. On the legislative redistricting side, the Democratic and Republican members of the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission released competing map proposals on Feb. 7. Members of the public had the opportunity to comment on the maps on Feb. 9. The commission then approved a compromise plan by a 9-2 vote on Feb. 18.
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed new congressional and legislative maps into law on Feb. 3. The maps were proposed and approved by the Legislature after the state’s bipartisan commission failed to agree on any new maps. The enacted congressional plan would likely elect 22 Democrats and four Republicans to the House of Representatives while the maps for the Legislature preserve Democrats’ advantage in one of the bluest states in the country. Shortly after Hochul signed the maps, a group of Republican voters filed a lawsuit against the congressional map. They argue the Legislature did not follow the redistricting process outlined in the state constitution and that the map is “an obviously unconstitutional partisan and incumbent-protection gerrymander” that violates the New York Constitution.
On Jan. 21, the Republican Party of New Mexico, State Sen. David Gallegos (R), former Sen. Timothy Jennings (D) and a group of Republican voters filed a lawsuit against the new congressional map. They argue the new map is a partisan gerrymander that violates the New Mexico Constitution by “cracking” Republican voters in southeastern New Mexico.
A lawsuit has been filed challenging North Dakota’s legislative districts on behalf of two Native American tribes and individual Native American voters. The complaint alleges the new House map dilutes the voting strength of Native Americans in violation of Section 2 of the VRA. Under the new plan, Native American voters in northeastern North Dakota can only elect their candidate of choice in one district, compared to two under the previous plan. The lawsuit asks the court to block the use of the map and order the Legislature to adopt a new plan. Two Republican voters also filed a lawsuit against the districts, arguing that certain House districts drawn to support Native American representation are racial gerrymanders that violate the 14th Amendment.
After the General Assembly gave final approval to new maps on Feb. 15, Gov. Dan McKee (D) signed them into law on Feb. 18. The new congressional map shifted about 8,000 Providence residents between the two districts, but is otherwise largely the same as the previous decade’s version. The legislative maps, on the other hand, have been criticized for protecting incumbents from primary challengers. They were also criticized by Cranston residents for shifting political power away from the town. Because lawmakers chose to count some inmates at their former addresses, Cranston — home of the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institutions — lost representation in a win for opponents of prison gerrymandering.
South Carolina approved a new congressional map on Jan. 27 that cements the 6-1 Republican majority in the state by making the district held by Rep. Nancy Mace (R) more Republican. At the same time, a lawsuit against the state’s congressional and legislative districts is moving forward. On Feb. 14, a three-judge panel denied an attempt to dismiss the case. The case, South Carolina NAACP v. McMaster, alleges the new House and congressional maps are racial gerrymanders that discriminate against Black voters in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments. Some defendants had sought to dismiss the case, arguing it is a “non-justiciable partisan gerrymandering action disguised as a racial gerrymandering action.” Although a trial was originally scheduled for the end of this month, it has been postponed so the parties in the case can engage in settlement negotiations.
Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed Tennessee’s new districts into law on Feb. 7. All three plans were approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in January. The new congressional plan drew criticism for dismantling the Nashville-based congressional district currently held by retiring Rep. Jim Cooper (D). The state legislative plans received similar criticism for unfairly favoring Republicans and diluting the voting power of minorities.
The Washington Legislature approved the state’s new congressional and legislative maps, making a few minor tweaks that do not substantially alter any of the districts. The districts are now officially enacted for the rest of the year. A lawsuit against the legislative map, Palmer v. Hobbs, is pending.

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.
Congressional: Complete
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.
Congressional: Complete
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
Legislative: Complete

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.