Connecticut
Congressional BoundariesDrawn by legislature
State BoundariesDrawn by legislature
Governor's PartyDemocratic
Legislative PartyDemocratic

Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays

Congressional

Alert:
Elevated

State Legislative

Alert:
Elevated

Process

State Legislature

In Connecticut, the state Legislature is responsible for drawing both congressional and state legislative districts. A supermajority of two-thirds of each chamber is required to adopt a district plan, and the maps do not require approval by the Governor. 

Back-up Commission

If the Legislature fails to adopt a plan for any chamber, the state constitution (Art III § 6) requires the appointment of an eight-member, bipartisan commission to draw the maps. Each of the four legislative leaders designate two members, whom the Governor then appoints. If the back-up commission fails to adopt maps, the state Supreme Court assumes authority.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Connecticut’s state constitution (Art III §§ 3, 4) requires that state legislative districts be contiguous. In addition, state House districts may not divide towns except when necessary. There are no state law requirements for drawing congressional districts.

Public Input

While no public hearings are currently required under Connecticut law, the Reapportionment Committee held six public hearings across all five congressional districts in July 2011. It is plausible that there will be similar opportunities for public input in 2021.

2011 Cycle

Missed Deadlines

In the 2011 redistricting cycle, the Reapportionment Committee failed to meet its September 15 deadline. As a result, the back-up redistricting commission was appointed, consisting of all eight original committee members and one new member, selected by the eight. The Commission then missed its November 30 deadline and failed to complete the plans even after a 15 day extension, so redistricting was turned over to the state Supreme Court. In the case of In re Petition of Reapportionment Commission, the Court appointed a special master, Nathaniel Persily, to produce a new map. After rejecting a Republican challenge, the Court accepted Persily’s map in February 2012.

In NAACP v. Merrill, plaintiffs challenged prison gerrymandering in Connecticut as a violation of one person, one vote. In Connecticut (and other states), prisoners are counted as residents of the districts where their prisons are located, as opposed to being counted as residents of their home address. While the Second Circuit affirmed, for the first time, that plaintiffs could sue a state over prison gerrymandering, both parties filed for dismissal in April 2020.

Issues

Bipartisan Involvement

While both chambers of the Legislature are controlled by Democrats, they do not have the required two-thirds supermajority in the Legislature. Thus, maps can only be passed with the involvement of both parties.

Actions

In 2021, participate in the Committee’s public input process.

  • Obtain Connecticut redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the Legislature starts collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

  Read the Common Cause Activist Handbook on Redistricting Reform to learn about what reforms have been successful in the past, and what steps to take to enact reform in the future. 

Contacts

League of Women Voters of Connecticut

Common Cause Connecticut

Sources

All About Redistricting

NCSL

Ballotpedia