As Congress considers whether to grant the Census Bureau’s request for an extension of upcoming Census deadlines, it is important to look at the 2021 redistricting cycle and the impact it will have on state redistricting deadlines. States utilize the population data gathered from the census to redraw congressional and legislative districts, ensuring their districts have equal population and meet necessary federal and state criteria. If the extension is granted by Congress, the earliest the states will likely get their redistricting datasets is late May with some not receiving theirs until as late as July 31, 2021.
Our previous blog post details some potential scenarios. Redistricting deadlines, candidate qualifying deadlines, and primary dates will be impacted in many states due to this extension. Read below for more information on the challenges facing each state due to their redistricting timelines and deadlines for drawing both congressional and legislative districts.
These six states face a 2021 redistricting deadline set by either the state constitution or by a statute. Only a constitutional amendment can alter the 2021 state constitutional deadlines and these states may not have enough time to complete that process. The statutory deadline in Oregon can be remedied by a bill. States with constitutionally set deadlines, such as California’s August 15th, 2021, will be forced to expedite their redistricting efforts into short periods of time. States with a deadline falling in 2021 are California, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon*, and Virginia.
January of 2022 Deadline
New York, New Jersey, and Washington have set deadlines falling in January of 2022. While this is still a condensed timeline, the additional months should allow both states to complete their redistricting by the deadline.
Following the Census
This category applies to states such as Indiana and Minnesota who base their congressional redistricting deadlines on the year the Census is conducted. The language included in these states tends to require Congressional redistricting in “the year following the census.” States with this kind of requirement are Connecticut, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Utah, and Vermont.
After the Census is Available
Slightly nuanced from the previous category, these states require the new congressional district maps to be drawn by a set date after the population data is delivered to the state. The amount of time to complete the necessary redistricting process varies according to individual constitutions. For example, Idaho’s constitution states that the final plan for redistricting must be submitted no later than ninety days after the census data becomes available to the state, which means Idaho’s districts could be enacted as late as October 31, 2021. States with redistricting deadlines dependent on the release of the census data are Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, and Montana.
No Defined Timeline
These states have no statutory or constitutional deadline by which they have to redistrict congressional districts. States with no defined congressional redistricting timeline are AL, AK, AZ, AR, DE, FL, GA, IL, KS, KY, LA, MD, MA, MS, MO, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WI, WY.
Many states have different redistricting timelines for their congressional and legislative districts. Below are the deadlines states are held to for redistricting legislative districts.
There are 15 states with legislative redistricting 2021 deadlines. Two of these states, New Jersey and Virginia, have legislative elections in November 2021. Both states may have to hold their 2021 elections under the existing districts before redrawing them in time for their 2023 legislative elections. The states required to redistrict by the end of 2021 are Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, and Virginia.
Eight states have explicit deadlines to complete legislative redistricting in the year of each decade ending in two, in this case 2022. States with 2022 redistricting deadlines are Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, and Washington.
Year/Session Following the Census
There are fourteen states that require legislative redistricting be completed in the year following the census or during the first session (or budget session) following the census. Look for some of the states with session language to recess rather than formally adjourn due to the delay in the release of the census data. States that must redistrict during the first legislative session or within the year following the census are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
After the Census is Available
A handful of states are required to redraw legislative lines after the release of the census data. Some state, like Texas, may be required to return for special legislative sessions to adhere to their state’s constitutional deadline. The states required to redistrict after the release of the census data are Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah.
No Defined Deadline
Eight states do not have set legislative redistricting deadlines. They are Arizona, Georgia, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.