Elections & Campaigns
The Courts Take Up Redistricting
February 17, 2022 | Bill Kramer
Every ten years, states must redraw the district lines for congressional and state legislative seats with long-term political consequences at stake. MultiState is tracking the outcomes and progress states are making with redistricting.
Last Updated November 5, 2021
Every ten years, states must redraw the district lines for congressional and state legislative seats with long-term political consequences at stake. MultiState is tracking the outcomes and progress states are making with redistricting. Click here to access our State Redistricting Dashboard, which gives an overview of each state's redistricting process and includes information on the status in each state, the entities in control of the redistricting process, and any deadlines and legal challenges. Click the image below to access the dashboard.
Traditionally, state legislatures maintain a majority of control over redistricting with input or veto power from the governor. However, over the last two redistricting cycles a trend has emerged that places the power to redraw district lines in the hands of an independent or bipartisan commission. Each state's redistricting process is unique, which is spelled out within the "summary" column of our dashboard. The map below illustrates the states that have completed the redistricting process.
Below is a description of the information we're following in our State Redistricting Dashboard.
Most states must enact new maps for both (1) congressional districts or (2) state legislative districts. That means that the redistricting process will significantly affect both state representation in the U.S. Congress as well as the state legislature for the next decade. In our dashboard, we represent each state's progress on enacting new congressional maps and state legislative maps in separate rows. While many states use a similar process to enact both sets of maps, a handful of states use completely separate mechanisms to enact each set of maps and are on different timelines. Note that the six states with only a single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives (Alaska, Delaware, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming) do not have a “congressional districts” row in the dashboard because there is no need to redraw a district that makes up the entire state.
While there are several levels of progress to the redistricting process in the states, we opted to show whether a state's maps have been enacted or not with a simple notation of "complete" or "incomplete" in the dashboard. Whether draft map proposals have been released or passed by a committee or legislative body is included in detail within the "summary" section of the dashboard. This information is also illustrated in the map above.
Again, we decided to simplify a rather complex discussion by indicating who has control over the redistricting process with four labels. In states where one political party will control the redistricting process in the state, often through control of the legislature and/or governorship, we indicate “Republican” or "Democratic" control in the dashboard. If neither political party has full control, often in the case of different political parties controlling one or both houses of the legislature and another political party holding the governor's mansion, then we indicate "Split" control in the dashboard. Finally, a handful of states have given control of the redistricting process to a bipartisan or independent "Commission." Note that we only labeled control of redistricting as "Commission" in cases where the commission has full control over the process and outside political forces, such as the legislature, do not have the ability to reject the commission's maps and draw their own.
The map below illustrates control of state legislative map redistricting for each state.
Here we indicate the final deadline for the state to complete its new maps. Not every state has an explicit deadline, in which case we use the filing deadline for state legislative or congressional elections as a functional deadline to complete the maps. Some states have conditional deadlines and others have multiple deadlines, which are indicated in greater detail within the "summary" section.
As new maps are enacted, legal challenges are sure to follow. In the "legal challenges" section, we'll chronicle any substantial lawsuits filed or decided on the redistricting process in each state.
February 17, 2022 | Bill Kramer
November 1, 2021 | Max Rieper
November 12, 2020 | Ryan Maness