Massachusetts

State website: www.malegislature.gov/District
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
Primary governing law: Mass. Const. amend. art. CI

The Latest

Congress: On November 16, 2011, the state legislature passed H. 3798, which was signed by the governor on Nov. 21.

State leg.: On November 1, 2011, the state legislature passed S. 2045 (state Senate) and H. 3770 (state House), which were signed by the governor on Nov. 3.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines D 36 D, 4 R 128 D, 31 R
    (could override veto)
    State legislative lines D 36 D, 4 R 128 D, 31 R
    (could override veto)
    2000 cong. lines R 32 D, 6 R 136 D, 22 R
    (could override veto)
    2000 state lines R 32 D, 6 R 136 D, 22 R
    (could override veto)

    Massachusetts' congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto. The members of the joint legislative committee with responsibility for redistricting are listed here.

    The Massachusetts constitution vests original jurisdiction in the state Supreme Court for review of state legislative lines in state court. By statute, the legislature has provided a similar provision for congressional lines. [Mass. Const. amend. art. CI, § 3; 2002 Mass. Legis. ch. 29, § 2 (H.B. 4778)]


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Massachusetts on March 22, 2011.

    Massachusetts state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by August 28, 2012. [Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 53, § 10]

    State legislative lines must be drawn in the first legislative session after the federal Census is conducted; that session begins on January 5, 2011, and ends January 3, 2012. [Mass. Const. amend. art. CI] Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by May 29, 2012. [Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 53, § 10]

    Massachusetts law appears to tie the drawing of state legislative lines to the Census, and to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Mass. Const. amend. art. CXIX]


  • Public input

    The legislative committee with responsibility for redistricting held public meetings through July 11, 2011.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Massachusetts must comply with constitutional equal population requirements, and further requires that its state legislative districts be as nearly equal in population "as may be." [Mass. Const. amend. art. CI]

    Massachusetts must also, like all states, abide by section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

    Massachusetts law further provides that state legislative districts be contiguous, and that it reasonably preserve counties, towns, and cities intact, where otherwise possible. There are no similar provisions for congressional districts. [Mass. Const. amend. art. CI; Mayor of Cambridge v. Secretary, 436 Mass. 476 (2002).]


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, the Massachusetts legislature enacted congressional plans on February 11, 2002, without the Governor's signature. The legislature enacted state Senate and state House plans on November 8, 2001.

    The state House plan was challenged in state and federal court; the plan was upheld in state court, but struck down in federal court, based on violations of the Voting Rights Act. The state submitted an adjusted map that was approved by the court, and then formally enacted by the legislature on April 21, 2004.

    [Black Political Task Force v. Galvin, 300 F. Supp. 2d 291 (D. Mass. 2004); Mayor of Cambridge v. Secretary, 436 Mass. 476 (2002); McClure v. Secretary, 436 Mass. 614 (2002)]

Congress State legislature   Maps & Data   States      
     Current status      Current status            Alabama      Indiana      Nebraska      South Carolina
     Timing      Timing            Alaska      Iowa      Nevada      South Dakota
     Authority      Authority   Litigation        Arizona      Kansas      New Hampshire      Tennessee
          Institution           Institution            Arkansas      Kentucky      New Jersey      Texas
          Party control           Party control            California      Louisiana      New Mexico      Utah
     Criteria      Criteria   Reform        Colorado      Maine      New York      Vermont
               Connecticut      Maryland      North Carolina      Virginia
               Delaware      Massachusetts      North Dakota      Washington
               Florida      Michigan      Ohio      West Virginia
         Georgia      Minnesota      Oklahoma      Wisconsin
Overview of redistricting     Further resources        Hawaii      Mississippi      Oregon      Wyoming
Why it matters Redistricting criteria        My work        Idaho      Missouri      Pennsylvania  
Public engagement Preclearance        Tools        Illinois      Montana      Rhode Island