Re·dis·tric·ting (verb): Redistricting is the process of drawing new legislative districts. This process is completed every 10 years once the Census count has been completed and the data is released.
Congressional districts and government legislative bodies should be apportioned substantially on population. We oppose partisan and racial gerrymandering that strips rights away from voters.
Explore the new maps:
How it works in Maine
Maine has an advisory commission to help draw congressional and legislative boundaries. The 15-member commission consists of:
- Two commissioners chosen by the majority leader of the Maine State Senate
- Two commissioners chosen by the minority leader
- Three commissioners chosen by the majority leader of the Maine House of Representatives
- Three chosen by the minority leader of the Maine House of Representatives
- Two member selected by the chairs of each of the two major political parties (effectively, the Democratic chair chooses one and the Republican chair chooses one)
- Two public commissioners selected by each side’s commissioners (one chosen by the six Republicans and one chosen by the six Democrats)
- One final “tie-breaker” commissioner chosen by the two public commissioners together
The advisory commission can create maps for the legislature to approve, though the legislature is not bound to only those maps drawn by the commission. The only real requirements are that the districts must be contiguous, compact, and cross as few political subdivisions as possible.
The legislature must pass any map by a ⅔ majority, and the map is then subject to approval by the governor. One party could, in theory, gerrymander the state if it could hold a supermajority in the legislature, but this has not happened in either house in the last decade. If the legislature is unable to get enough support for a map, then the Maine Supreme Court will draw the maps instead. More detailed information can be found here.
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We've created maps from proposals submitted to the Commission and added shapefiles to make them easier to read.
- Maine Congressional Consensus Map (Updated 9/24/2021)
- Unified House Proposal Map (Updated 9/29/2021)
- Unified Senate Proposal Map (Updated 9/29/2021)
- Maine State Senate: Democratic Caucus Proposal
Available maps from the Apportionment Commission:
- Maine County Commissioner Districts (Approved by the Commission: 9/20/21)
- Maine State House of Representatives (Finally Approved by the Commission: 9/27/21)
- Maine State Senate (Approved by the Commission: 9/27/21)
- U.S. House of Representatives (Approved by the Commission: 9/24/21)
[October 4, 2021] The Final Update: Well, that's that. The Apportionment Commission has concluded its work. The Commission's consensus maps were submitted last week to the Legislature, which promptly voted to approve them. Maps have now been signed into law by Governor Mills.
[September 27, 2021] Deadline to submit new legislative maps is today: The Apportionment Commission approved the Maine House and congressional maps last Friday, September 24. The commission has not yet reached a consensus on the Maine Senate districts, but they have scheduled a meeting today at 11:00 a.m. to take one last crack at it. The Commission's deadline to submit the maps to the Legislature is TODAY, September 27.
[September 20, 2021] The Apportionment Commission released drafts of maps last week. They were a little insufficient. This was our statement released on Friday, September 17: "The League of Women Voters of Maine is very disappointed to see that the State Senate maps from both parties released yesterday lack the information and detail necessary to allow the public to sufficiently weigh in. Voters in municipalities that are proposed to be split such as Portland and Scarborough are unable to determine which district they are proposed to be in." You can see the maps for yourself on the Commission’s website here.
Shapefiles, which provide additional details and make the maps easier to read and critique, are available on request for the Democratic Senate proposal. We obtained them and posted them online here. More details have not been released for the Republican Senate proposal, nor for the unified County Commissioner proposal or the competing Congressional district maps. Proposals have not yet been released for Maine State House Districts. Learn more about how redistricting works in Maine.
Maine's Apportionment Commission will be holding a public hearing on proposed U.S. Congress, State Senate, and County Commissioner maps today, September 20 at 9:30 AM. The YouTube livestream is here. The Commission's deadline to submit proposed maps to the Legislature is September 27. That’s next week.
[September 13, 2021] The Apportionment Commission has a deadline in late September to submit a final proposed map to the Legislature. We've followed along and provided testimony. The process needs to be much more open and transparent. “One recurring piece of feedback we have received is that members of the public do not feel able to offer comment without maps to remark on,” we said in written testimony. Read more here. We’re hoping to see some map proposals this week.
[September 6, 2021] The Apportionment Commission has a deadline in late September to submit a final proposed map to the Legislature, and we continue to urge the Commission to release draft maps as soon as possible so the public can offer substantial feedback on its proposals. The Commission is having its next meeting on Friday, September 10th at 9:30 AM. According to the BDN, the Commission may attempt to take on Congressional and State Senate maps at that time.
[August 30, 2021] Maine’s Apportionment Commission, charged with proposing maps for redistricting, met again on August 18. With the release of block-level Census data, the work on mapmaking has begun in earnest, though no draft maps have been released to the public. The Commission has a deadline in late September to submit a final proposed map to the Legislature, and we continue to urge the Commission to release draft maps as soon as possible so the public can offer substantial feedback on its proposals.
[August 16, 2021] Census data needed to draw maps has been released! This impacts how your community is represented in government for the next 10 years. Participating in public hearings and offering testimony about your community helps ensure that maps drawn are truly representative.
[July 26, 2021] Maine's high court recently approved the extension of the redistricting timeline. The court's decision will now lay out the process for the commission to complete its work after Census delays. Maine will continue to have two congressional districts, but a few towns may shift. We look forward to the process being transparent and conducted in the public interest.
[July 12, 2021] The Apportionment Commission met for the second time last week. We were there and offered these comments. They are still trying to figure out what to do about the fact that census data is already too late for Maine to meet the deadlines established in our state constitution. The Commission has asked the Maine Supreme Court to weigh in and provide some clarity, as the California Supreme Court did last year. The needed census data is widely expected sometime next month. The deadline in our Constitution was last month.
H.R. 1 and H.R. 4, if passed, will make sure maps are drawn fairly and reduce the opportunities for partisan gerrymandering. The League of Women Voters of Maine supports both of these bills and regularly campaigns for Maine Senators and Representatives to support them.
For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1) focuses on campaign finance reform, government ethics, and voting rights.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) strengthens the famous Voting Rights Act of 1965 that was significantly weakened by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder. This bill would require states with a history of voting rights violations to preclear any changes to voting that could have a discriminatory impact.
Both of these bills would significantly reduce the incidence of gerrymandering. H.R. 1 would require all states to have independent commissions draw boundaries using rules that will ensure reasonable districts and H.R. 4 would require states with a history of voting rights violations to preclear redistricting. These changes would increase the amount of competitive elections and better reflect the partisan makeup of our country.
H.R. 4 would only affect Maine if the state has repeated voting rights violations in the last 25 years as defined by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If that were to happen, Maine would need to have its redistricting precleared by the federal Department of Justice. Currently, Maine’s strong protections of voting rights make this preclearance unnecessary.