On February 12, 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the PL-94-171 2020 Census data that is necessary for congressional and legislative redistricting will not be delivered to the states until September 30, 2021 – well beyond the Census Bureau’s statutory deadline of April 1, 2021. Many states have constitutional or statutory deadlines for when specific types of maps must be enacted, and for those that fall in early 2021, a late-September release of census data will make meeting those deadlines impossible. Some states will have more flexibility due to the Census Bureau's release of 2020 Census data in a legacy format on August 12, 2021, effectively allowing them to begin their redistricting processes earlier once the legacy data is reformatted to be usable.
The list below contains all the states wherein the primary authority for enacting a congressional map will miss one or more of its deadlines as a result of the delayed census data. Included are their original deadlines, any backup processes if specified, and an explanation of how their redistricting process will be impacted.
It should be noted that in light of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding this redistricting cycle, it is possible that in some states, the legislature or a court could modify their redistricting deadlines or their procedures to allow for at least an attempt at enacting a map through the state’s standard process. This post will be updated to reflect such developments if they occur.
Congressional Redistricting Deadline: The General Assembly must adopt a plan by 9/15/21.
Backup Process: A nine-member Backup Commission is appointed to draw the plan. The Commission must adopt its plan by 11/30/21. If the Commission fails to meet this deadline, the Connecticut Supreme Court has until 2/15/22 to draw and file its plan.
Notes: If the Backup Commission fails to file its plan by 11/30/21, any registered voter may petition the Connecticut Supreme Court to compel the Commission to perform its duty, or for the court to take other action, including making a plan. The petition must be filed within 30 days of the missed deadline. Conn. Const. art. III, § 6(d).
Consequences of Delayed Census Data Release: In light of the August release of legacy format 2020 Census data, the General Assembly may be able to enact a congressional plan by its deadline. If it fails to do so, the nine-member Backup Commission will have the next opportunity to enact a plan.
Congressional Redistricting Deadline: General Assembly must adopt a plan by the end of the regular session, which was extended by H.B. 1372 to adjourn on 11/15/21.
Backup Process: A five-member Backup Commission is immediately convened and must adopt a plan by majority vote within 30 days of the session’s adjournment, so no later than 12/15/21.
Consequences of Delayed Census Data Release: With the newly extended regular session, The General Assembly should be able to enact a redistricting plan by its deadline.
Congressional Redistricting Deadline: Ordinarily, the State Legislature would have had to enact the map submitted by the advisory Legislative Apportionment Commission, or their own, by 6/11/21. However, in In re 2021 Apportionment of Maine, the Maine Supreme court extended the State's redistricting deadlines to require that the State Legislature adopt a final redistricting plan by 10/6/21.
Backup Process: The Maine Supreme Court must make a congressional plan within sixty days of the Legislature’s missed deadline, so under the Maine Supreme Court's revised timeline, by 11/10/21.
Consequences of Delayed Census Data Release: Under the court-extended redistricting deadlines, the State Legislature should be able to enact a map by its deadline.
Congressional Redistricting Deadlines
- Constitutional: State Legislature must enact a map by the end of the first session after the census year, so by 5/17/21.
- Statutory: State Legislature must enact a map in no case later than twenty-five weeks before the state primary election in the year ending in two, so by 2/15/22.
Backup Process: Not explicitly specified, but the Minnesota Supreme Court has stated that if the Legislature and Governor miss their statutory redistricting deadline, it falls to the judicial branch to prepare a valid congressional plan and order its adoption. Hippert v. Richie, 813 N.W.2d 391 (Minn. 2012).
Consequences of Delayed Census Data Release: The State Legislature will miss its constitutional deadline, but not its statutory deadline, so likely no impact on the process.
Congressional Redistricting Deadline: General Assembly must pass a plan by 9/30/21.
Backup Process: Map drawing authority passes to the Ohio Redistricting Commission, who must adopt a final plan by 10/31/21. If this deadline is missed, authority passes back to the General Assembly who must adopt a final plan by 11/31/21.
Consequences of Delayed Census Data Release: The August release of legacy format census data means the General Assembly may be able to enact a map by its deadline. If they fail to do so, congressional map drawing authority will pass to the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
Congressional Redistricting Deadline: The General Assembly does not have an explicit deadline to enact a congressional plan, but if it does not adopt a plan by 7/1/21, an Oregon voter can petition the Oregon Supreme Court on or before 8/1/21 to request a reapportionment of congressional districts.
Backup Process: Not specified.
Consequences of Delayed Census Data Release: The General Assembly will retain authority to redraw congressional districts because no apportionment petitions were filed within the requisite period.