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

Communities of Interest

Check out Communities of Interest collected in this state on Representable

Learn about Communities of Interest in this state

Census-related Redistricting Timeline Delays

State Legislative

Alert:
Low

Congressional

Alert:
Low

Process

State Legislature

Rhode Island's state legislative and congressional lines are drawn by the state Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a three-fifths vote in each chamber.

Advisory Commission

In 2011, Rhode Island established an 18-member advisory commission, comprised of both legislators and citizens, that makes recommendations to the Legislature, which it can accept, modify, or reject entirely. 

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Rhode Island’s state constitution (Art. VII § 1; VIII § 1) requires that state legislative districts be compact. Rhode Island’s state statutes (2011 R.I. Laws chs. 100, 106) also require that both state legislative and congressional districts be contiguous and preserve political subdivisions.

Public Input

Rhode Island law requires the advisory commission to conduct public hearings prior to issuing findings and recommendations; there is no specified number of hearings required. In the last redistricting cycle, the commission held an initial series of seven hearings in October 2011, followed by seven more in November and December. 

Issues

Pitfalls

One measure of partisan bias in redistricting is the efficiency gap, or the difference between the two parties’ wasted votes, divided by the total number of votes cast. A study by Nicholas Stephanopolis and Eric McGee, the creators of the efficiency gap, found that Rhode Island’s 2012 House of Representative plan was one of the most partisan gerrymanders in the United States.

Potential Reform

In 2020, a pair of companion bills was introduced in the Rhode Island Legislature. These bills (H7260/S2077) sought to amend the state constitution by adding a fifteen-member independent citizens' redistricting commission. The bills also included redistricting criteria, public hearing, and transparency requirements. Both bills adjourned sine die.

Actions

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

  • Obtain Rhode Island 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

Redraw Rhode Island

League of Women Voters of Rhode Island

ACLU of Rhode Island

Sources

All About Redistricting

NCSL

Ballotpedia