Welcome to the FELN Biweekly Redistricting Update. If you have updates to share – on federal, state and local redistricting plans – please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-The FELN Team
Alabama’s new redistricting plans have been sent to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for approval. Democrats oppose the new plans because they believe the new districts are gerrymandered in favor of Republicans and shrink minority influence. Depending on the outcome from the DOJ, Alabama Democrats may bring a lawsuit challenging the map.
Alaska Natives are suing the state over emergency redistricting plans recently approved by the Alaska Supreme Court because it reduces the number of native controlled districts from eight to six. They want the state to use the maps from last decade for this year’s elections.
The Alaskans for Fair Redistricting have met with the U.S. Justice Department to voice their concerns over the new map. They want the Justice Department to look at how the new maps affect Alaska Natives influence and how it would affect the Senate’s bipartisan majority coalition that has protected rural Alaska and the native population.
Arizona Republicans filed a challenge last week in court over the voter-approved Independent Redistricting Commission. They argue that only the legislature has the power to create new legislative districts. They also are seeking to overturn the new maps and return the power to the legislature to write new maps for 2014 and beyond.
Last week, a three federal judge panel released newly redrawn maps. The court was forced to redraw maps after the Kansas legislature failed to pass redistricting plans before the end of their legislative session. The court rejected every map passed by the House and Senate as well as a map filled by the governor. The judges drew new maps that focused on compact districts with little population deviation among districts.
Opponents of Maryland’s new redistricting plan have passed the first hurdle of gathering signatures to get the plan put before voters. Opponents of the plan are critical of the redrawn 6th congressional district that includes more democratic voters.
Last week, the state Supreme Court heard arguments over a challenge to New Hampshire’s redistricting plans. The challenge is over the voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that requires towns and cities with sufficient populations to get their own representative. In the map that was approved, plaintiffs argue that many towns and cities with a sufficient population do not get their own representative. They are asking that the legislature be required to draw new maps.
New Hampshire received preliminary approval from the U.S. Justice Department over its redistricting plans.
The Legislative Reapportionment Commission approved a revised redistricting plan last week. The plan brought opposition from the Senate minority leader because it changes one district to have a significant Republican influence and splits 10 counties to improve Republican electoral chances. He may consider bringing a challenge to the map to the state Supreme Court. The court has already thrown out a previous map.