Prof. Justin Levitt's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

Connecticut

State Summary

In Connecticut, primary responsibility for congressional and state legislative districts falls on the state legislature, which may pass a plan with a 2/3 supermajority of each legislative chamber (and no gubernatorial veto).  If the legislature does not pass a plan, responsibility falls to a nine-member backup commission.

In the 2010 cycle, both the legislature and the backup commission failed to draw congressional lines; the state Supreme Court drew the map instead, on Feb. 10, 2012.  The legislature also missed its deadline for state legislative lines; the backup commission drew plans (State Senate and State House) on Nov. 30, 2011.   A later legal challenge to the state legislative plan was withdrawn.

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Institution

Primary responsibility for Connecticut’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.  [Conn. Const. art. III, § 6]

If the legislature fails to pass a plan, those lines will be drawn by a nine-member backup commission, in place since 1976. Each of the four legislative leaders (majority and minority leader in each legislative house) chooses two commissioners, and those eight commissioners choose a ninth, who must be an elector of the state. [Conn. Const. art. III, § 6]

Original jurisdiction to challenge a redistricting plan, or to rectify inaction, in state court is vested with the Connecticut Supreme Court. [Conn. Const. art. III, § 6]

Timing

The legislature’s deadline for producing plans is Sept. 15, 2021. If the legislature fails to pass a plan, the backup commission will be convened, and must provide a plan by Nov. 30, 2021.  [Conn. Const. art. III, § 6]  Candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by June 7, 2022. [Conn. Gen. Stat. § 9-400(a)]

Connecticut prohibits redrawing lines mid-decade, before the next Census. [Conn. Const. art. III, § 6]

Public input

The legislature and backup commission held meetings and hearings in the last cycle, archived here.  The legislature has not yet announced any specific plans for public input this cycle.

Criteria

Like all states, Connecticut must comply with constitutional equal population requirements and abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

For state legislative lines, the state constitution further requires that districts be contiguous, and that state House districts not divide towns except where necessary to comply with other legal requirements. [Conn. Const. art. III, § 4Fonfara v. Reapportionment Comm’n, 222 Conn. 166 (1992)]

 

2010 cycle

Neither Connecticut’s legislature nor its backup commission could agree on a congressional plan; the state Supreme Court approved congressional lines on Feb. 10, 2012.  [In re Petition of Reapportionment Comm’n, 36 A.3d 661 (Conn. 2012)]

Connecticut’s legislature also could not agree on a state legislative plan.  On Nov. 30, 2011, the backup commission approved state Senate and state House maps.  Challenges to these plans were voluntarily dismissed.

2000 cycle

Connecticut’s legislature could not agree on any plan.  The backup commission adopted congressional districts on Dec. 21, 2001; state Senate districts on Nov. 26, 2001, and state House districts on Nov. 30, 2001.  It appears that none of the plans were challenged in court