Maine
Congressional BoundariesDrawn by legislature with advisory commission
State BoundariesDrawn by legislature with advisory commission
Governor's PartyDemocratic
Legislative PartyDemocratic

Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays

State Legislative

Alert:
Severe

Congressional

Alert:
Severe

Process

State Legislature

The primary responsibility for state legislative and congressional redistricting rests with the Maine Legislature, which must adopt a plan by a two-thirds vote in both chambers, subject to gubernatorial veto. 

Advisory Commission

Per Maine’s state constitution (Art. IV 3rd § 1-A), the process must be guided by a 15-member advisory commission, which is comprised of politicians and members of the public, divided equally between the two major parties, and chaired by an independent. The commission recommends state legislative and congressional plans to the Legislature, which can accept, modify, or reject the proposals.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Maine’s state constitution requires that state legislative (Art. IV 1st § 2) and congressional (Art. IX § 24) districts be compact, contiguous, and preserve political subdivisions.

Public Input

The advisory commission is constitutionally required to hold public hearings on any plans before submitting to the Legislature. There was at least one public hearing held in August 2011 to gather public input.

2011 Cycle

In the 2011 redistricting cycle, an independent voter brought a federal challenge (Turcotte v. LaPage) arguing that the two major political parties had too much control over the redistricting process and were disproportionately represented in the advisory commission, diluting the voice of unaffiliated voters. The case was dismissed.

Issues

Timeline

In the last redistricting cycle, Maine would have drawn new congressional districts in 2013, after the 2012 elections, per existing state law. However, a federal lawsuit challenging the unequal population of districts led the court to order the Legislature to draw maps before the elections. In 2013, a bill was passed to permanently set the deadline for redistricting in the first year of the decade (e.g. 2021).

Actions

Defend the advisory system while advocating for further reforms:

  • Write to your local news organization in support of the advisory commission.
  • Contact your state legislators to voice your desire for fair redistricting.
  • 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.

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

  • Obtain Maine 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 advisory commission 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.

Contacts

League of Women Voters of Maine

Sources

All About Redistricting

NCSL

Ballotpedia