Maine

State website: None yet
2010-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House  « NEW 
2000-cycle districts: Congress, State Senate, State House
Primary governing law: Me. Const. art. IV, pt. 1, §§ 2-3; pt. 2, §§ 2-3; pt. 3, § 1-A;
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 21-A, ch. 15

The Latest

Congress: A federal court determined that congressional districts must be redrawn by the 2012 elections, rather than the 2013 deadline in state law.

On August 30, 2011, an advisory commission narrowly recommended a plan along party lines; on September 27, the legislature passed LD 1590, a substantially modified version of that plan, by the required 2/3 supermajority. The plan was approved by the Governor on September 28. The plan was challenged in court, but those challenges have been dismissed.

State leg.: On May 24, 2013, an advisory commission recommended state Senate districts; on May 31, it recommended state House districts. On June 5, the legislature passed LD 1557, a version of that plan, by the required 2/3 supermajority. The plan was approved by the Governor on June 14.

  • Institution

    Redistricting political control:

    Governor State Senate State House
    Congressional lines R 14 D, 20 R, 1 O 72 D, 78 R, 1 O
    2/3 supermajority required
    State legislative lines R 14 D, 20 R, 1 O 72 D, 78 R, 1 O
    2/3 supermajority required
    2000 cong. lines I 17 D, 16 R 81 D, 69 R
    2/3 supermajority required
    2000 state lines I 17 D, 16 R 81 D, 69 R
    2/3 supermajority required

    Primary responsibility for Maine's congressional and state legislative lines rests with the state legislature, which may pass a plan on a vote of 2/3 of the members of each legislative chamber, subject to gubernatorial veto.

    This process is aided by a 15-member advisory commission. The state Senate majority and minority leaders each choose 2 commissioners; state House majority and minority leaders each choose 3; and the chair of the state's two major parties each choose 1. Those 12 commissioners then choose two more from the public, with each party's representatives coordinating to choose 1 commissioner, and those 2 commissioners select a third and final member. The initial 14 members of the advisory commission convened for congressional lines are listed here, and the final member is listed here. [Me. Const. art. IV, pt. 3, § 1-A; Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 21-A, § 1206] This commission recommends congressional and state legislative plans to the legislature, which may adopt, modify, or ignore the commission's proposals.

    If the legislature fails to pass a plan within the time provided by state law, the state Supreme Court has both jurisdiction and responsibility to draw the appropriate plan. [Me. Const. art. IV, pt. 1, § 3; pt. 2, § 2; Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 21-A, § 1206(2)]


  • Timing

    Census data were delivered to Maine on March 24, 2011.

    For state legislative plans, the legislature's deadline is 130 days after the start of the 2013 legislative session -- in this case, April 14, 2013. If the legislature fails to pass a plan, the state Supreme Court will step in, and must draw lines within 60 days, or by June 13. [Me. Const. art. IV, pt. 1, § 3; pt. 2, § 2; Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 21-A, § 1206(2)]

    For congressional plans, the legislature's deadline under state law was 120 days after the start of the session -- in this case, April 4, 2013. That deadline, however, was overridden in litigation, and districts must now be drawn before the 2012 elections; the federal court has set a deadline of September 30, 2011, for the state legislature and November 15, 2011, for the state courts. If there is no plan in place by November 15, the federal court will itself draw districts, by January 1, 2012. The legislature, in turn, has provided for an advisory commission to recommend a plan by August 31, 2011.

    Candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by March 15, 2012. [Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 21-A § 335(8)]

    The Maine constitution ties the drawing of state legislative lines to a decennial cycle, and might therefore be construed to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Me. Const. art. IV, pt. 1, § 2; pt. 2, § 2; Opinion of the Justices, 283 A.2d 234 (Me. 1971)]


  • Public input

    The first few meetings of the advisory commission responsible for recommending congressional lines can be found here, here, and here.


  • Criteria

    Like all states, Maine must comply with constitutional equal population requirements, and further requires that its state legislative districts be equally populated "as nearly as practicable." [Me. Const. art. IV, pt. 1, § 2; pt. 2, § 2]

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

    By statute, Maine further requires that congressional districts be compact and contiguous, and that they cross political subdivision lines as few times as possible. The legislature may modify this statute at any time. [Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 21-A, § 1206]

    The state constitution also requires that state legislative districts be compact and contiguous, and that they cross political subdivision lines as few times as possible. [Me. Const. art. IV, pt. 1, § 2; pt. 2, § 2] By statute (which the legislature can modify at any time), Maine has further defined "compact and contiguous" districts in the state legislative context as those that minimize impediments to travel within the district; similarly, the legislature has explained that "all political subdivision boundaries are not of equal importance," and stated that in making choices among these boundaries, local community interests should be heeded. [Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 21-A, § 1206-A]


  • 2010 cycle cases

    Desena v. State of Maine, No. 1:11-cv-00117 (D. Me.): a challenge in federal court to the unequal population of Maine's congressional districts, based on districting scheduled for 2013, but elections in 2012 using lines from the last cycle.
         - Complaint (Mar. 28, 2011).
         - Defendant's brief (May 20), plaintiff's reply (May 31).
         - Plaintiff's brief (May 20), defendant's reply (May 31), intervenor's reply (May 31).
         - Intervenor Maine Democratic Party's brief (May 20).
         - Court order requiring redistricting before 2012 elections (June 21).
         - Order to show cause (Oct. 3).
         - Final judgment (Nov. 1).
    The latest: On June 21, 2011, the court ruled that congressional districts must be redrawn by the 2012 elections, rather than the 2013 deadline in state law, and asked the legislature to act by September 30. A plan was passed on September 28, and on November 1, the court issued final judgment approving the September 28 plan.

    Turcotte v. LaPage, No. 1:11-cv-00312 (D. Me.) & No. 12-1229 (1st Cir.): a challenge in federal court to congressional districts that are drawn by representatives of political parties.
         - Trial court
              - Complaint (Aug. 17, 2011) and amended complaint (Aug. 19).
              - Motion to dismiss (Oct. 17), response (Nov. 7), reply (Nov. 21).
              - Magistrate's recommendation to dismiss (Nov. 30).
                   - Plaintiff's objections to recommendation (Dec. 19) and supplement (Dec. 29).
                   - Opposition to objections (Jan. 11, 2012).
              - Order adopting magistrate's recommendation to dismiss (Jan. 13).
         - Court of appeals
              - Brief by plaintiff (June 18), defendant (July 24), plaintiff's reply (Aug. 19).
              - Judgment affirming lower court, dismissing appeal (Nov. 29).
              - Petition for rehearing en banc (Dec. 13).
    The latest: On November 30, 2011, the magistrate judge recommended that the case be dismissed, and on January 13, that recommendation was adopted by the court. The court of appeal affirmed on November 29, 2012; a petition for rehearing en banc has been filed.


  • 2000 cycle

    In the 2000 redistricting cycle, Maine's legislature enacted a plan for the state House, signed on May 23, 2003. It did not, however, pass a congressional plan or a plan for the state Senate by the constitutional deadline; therefore, on July 2, 2003, the state Supreme Court issued the respective redistricting plans.

    The state House plan was challenged in state court, and upheld.

    [In re 2003 Apportionment of the State Senate and United States Congressional Districts, 827 A.2d 844 (Me. 2003); In re 2003 Legislative Apportionment of the House of Representatives , 827 A.2d 810 (Me. 2003)]

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