According to the recent U.S. Census, Maine’s population has shifted and become more populated in southern and coastal areas. Due to the shift Maine’s 1st District has an estimated 30,000 more people than the 2nd District. Based on voting results from this year, it’s possible the population shift has been even greater.
Maine law requires that the congressional districts be as “equally populated,” therefore the imbalance must be fixed. The process to redraw Maine’s electoral maps has partisan safeguards in place, however that doesn’t make the process any easier. Some Legislators districts will change and voters will likely be moved.
Within the first three days of the legislative session, which is scheduled to begin on December 2, 2020 the Maine Legislature is required to establish a commission that will redraw the district maps for the U.S. House of Representatives, Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate.
The Maine Constitution requires that the commission include an equal number of members from the two largest parties in the Legislature, the two largest state political parties and three members of the public.
The commission then makes its recommendation to the Legislature, which can consider the new maps or an alternative of its own. To be put in place, the new district maps must pass the Legislature with a two-thirds vote. The governor also has an opportunity to veto the maps presented by the Legislature.
If the Legislature doesn’t adopt a new map by June 11, 2021 the process shifts to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which is required to redraw the districts after taking into account public comments.