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

Kentucky

State Summary

Kentucky’s congressional and state legislative lines are drawn by the legislature, as normal legislation, subject to gubernatorial veto.

In the 2010 cycle, the legislature passed congressional maps (HB 302) on Feb. 10, 2012.  It passed state legislative maps (HB 1) on Jan. 19, 2012, which were struck by a state court on Feb. 7, 2012.  The 2012 elections took place under the 2002 plan; on Aug. 23, 2013, the legislature passed new state legislative maps (HB 1), which were signed by the Governor on the same day.

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Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2020 Cycle

Primary governing law

Data

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Institution

Kentucky’s congressional and state legislative lines are both drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

State law grants exclusive jurisdiction in state court for legal challenges to state legislative maps to a three-judge circuit court panel. No similar provision exists for congressional lines. [Ky. Stat. § 5.005]

Timing

Kentucky state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines.  The legislative session is currently scheduled to begin on Feb. 2, 2021, and end on Mar. 30, 2021.

The state constitution seems to require that state legislative lines be drawn by the general assembly in the year 2022; that legislative session is scheduled to begin on Jan. 4, 2022, and ends no later than Apr. 15, 2022. [Ky. Const. § 33Ky. Const. § 36Ky. Const. § 42]  Candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by Jan. 7, 2022. [Ky. Stat. § 118.165(2)].

Kentucky prohibits redrawing state legislative district lines mid-decade, before the next Census, but may redraw congressional lines at any time. [Ky. Const. § 33; Richardson v. McChesney, 108 S.W. 322 (Ky. 1908)]

Public input

The legislature has not yet announced any specific plans for public input this cycle.

Criteria

Like all states, Kentucky must comply with constitutional equal population requirements, and further requires that its state legislative districts be “as nearly equal in population as may be,” without dividing a county; the state courts have interpreted this to mean a presumptive limit of ±5% from the average population. [Ky. Const. § 33; Legis. Res. Comm’n v. Fischer, 366 S.W.3d 905, 913-16  (Ky. 2012)]

Kentucky must also, like all states, abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

For state legislative districts, the Kentucky Constitution requires that districts be contiguous and that they preserve whole counties when possible.  The state courts have interpreted this to mean that state legislative districts must divide the fewest number of counties possible.  [Ky. Const. § 33; Legis. Res. Comm’n v. Fischer, 366 S.W.3d 905, 911-13  (Ky. 2012)]

2010 cycle

Kentucky’s legislature passed congressional maps (HB 302) on Feb. 10, 2012, which was signed by the Governor on the same day.

The legislature passed state legislative maps (HB 1) on Jan. 19, 2012, which were signed by the Governor on Jan. 20, 2012.  The maps were challenged in state court, and on Feb. 7, 2012, the court struck the maps on the grounds of malapportionment and excessive division of counties.  The 2012 elections took place under the 2002 plan, but the map had to be redrawn thereafter.  [Brown v. Ky. Legis. Res. Comm’n, 966 F. Supp. 2d 709 (E.D. Ky. 2013); Legis. Res. Comm’n v. Fischer, 366 S.W.3d 905 (Ky. 2012)]

On Aug. 23, 2013, the legislature passed new state legislative maps (HB 1), which were signed by the Governor on the same day.

2000 cycle

Kentucky’s legislature enacted congressional and state legislative districts (HB 1) on Jan. 31, 2002.

Once the plans were drawn, it appears that they were not further challenged in court.