Where the lines are drawn - congressional districts

The table below shows the different critera that redistricting bodies in the 2010 redistricting cycle will consider when they draw congressional lines.

In most states, these standards must be followed only as closely "as is practicable," leaving substantial flexibility to the redistricting body. And in every state, these standards are always subordinate to federal equal population limits and to the federal Voting Rights Act.

Boldface indicates constitutional requirements, normal typeface indicates rules in state statute, and italics indicates rules in some form of advisory state guidance. A blank space indicates that the state does not have a particular rule on the issue in question, at least as far as I am aware. More information is available in the writeup for each state -- just click on the state's name.

State Maintain Equal Population Draw Compact Districts Follow Political Boundaries Preserve Communities
of Interest
Prohibit
Undue Favoritism
Alabama Yes Yes County Yes
Alaska One congressional district -- no redistricting necessary
Arizona Yes Yes City, town, county Yes Favor competitive districts
Arkansas Yes
California Yes Yes (population) City, county, neighborhood Yes Candidate or party
Colorado Yes
Connecticut Yes
Delaware One congressional district -- no redistricting necessary
Florida Yes Yes Yes Party or incumbent
Georgia Yes Yes County, precinct Yes
Hawaii Yes Yes Yes Person or political faction
Idaho Yes Yes County, neighborhood Yes Party or incumbent
Illinois Yes
Indiana Yes
Iowa Yes Yes County, city Party, incumbent, other
Kansas Yes Yes County Yes
Kentucky Yes County Yes
Louisiana Yes Yes
Maine Yes Yes Yes
Maryland Yes
Massachusetts Yes
Michigan Yes Yes County, city, township
Minnesota Yes Yes
Mississippi Yes
Missouri Yes Yes
Montana One congressional district -- no redistricting necessary
Nebraska Yes Yes County, city, village Party, group, person
Nevada Yes
New Hampshire Yes
New Jersey Yes
New Mexico Yes Yes Yes Yes
New York Yes
North Carolina Yes
North Dakota One congressional district -- no redistricting necessary
Ohio Yes
Oklahoma Yes
Oregon Yes Yes Yes Party, incumbent, other person
Pennsylvania Yes
Rhode Island Yes Yes Yes Right to fair representation Right to fair representation
South Carolina Yes Yes Municipal, county, voting precinct Yes
South Dakota One congressional district -- no redistricting necessary
Tennessee Yes
Texas Yes
Utah Yes Yes
Vermont One congressional district -- no redistricting necessary
Virginia Yes Yes Yes
Washington Yes Yes County, municipality Yes Party or group, encourage competition
West Virginia Yes
Wisconsin Yes
Wyoming One congressional district -- no redistricting necessary

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