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

State Summary

In Maine, 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.  The process is aided by a 15-member advisory commission; the members of the commission can be seen here.  If the legislature does not pass a plan, responsibility falls to the state Supreme Court.

On Sept. 29, 2021 the state legislature adopted final maps for Congress (LD 1739), state House (LD 1738), and state Senate (LD 1741) districts. Gov. Mills signed all three bills into law that same day.

In the 2010 cycle, the legislature passed a congressional plan (LD 1590) on Sept. 27, 2011, which was signed by the Governor on Sept. 28, 2011.  It passed a state legislative plan (LD 1557) on June 5, 2013, which was signed by the Governor on June 14, 2013.

In the 2020 cycle, the legislature passed state legislative (LD 1738 and 1741) and congressional (LD 1739) plans on Sept. 29, 2021, which were all signed by the Governor on the same day.

 

 

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Seats: (projected)

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
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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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The Latest Updates

Sep 29, 2021
The Maine Legislature voted to approve state legislative and congressional redistricting plans (LD 1738, 1739, and 1741). Maine Governor Janet Mills signed the legislation the same day, completing Maine's redistricting process.
Sep 27, 2021
The Maine Apportionment Commission has approved a state Senate redistricting map.
Sep 24, 2021
The Maine Apportionment Commission voted to approve U.S. Congressional and state House of Representatives redistricting maps. The state Senate maps are still under consideration.
Sep 24, 2021
The Maine Apportionment Commission has proposed additional congressional and state legislative redistricting maps.
Sep 16, 2021
The Maine Apportionment Commission released its first set of proposed congressional and state senate redistricting maps.
Jul 20, 2021
The Maine Supreme Court extended the deadline for new maps to 45 days after the Census releases its legacy data, or September 27, 2021. The legislature will then have 10 days to adopt the plans.
May 27, 2021
The Maine Apportionment Commission held its first meeting on May 27, 2021.
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Institution

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.  [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

For both congressional and state legislative plans, the advisory commission must submit a plan by June 1, 2021, and the legislature’s deadline is June 11, 2021.  The state Supreme Court extended the deadline to accommodate the delayed release of Census data. The court’s order gives the advisory commission 45 days to complete new maps (September 27, 2021) and the legislature 10 additional days to either adopt the commission’s plan or an alternative plan. If the legislature fails to pass a plan, the state Supreme Court will step in, and must draw lines within 60 days.  [Me. Const. art. IV, pt. 1, § 3; pt. 2, § 2; Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 21-A, § 1206(1)-(2)]  The legislative session began on Dec. 2, 2020, and is currently scheduled to end on June 16, 2021.

Candidates must file for congressional and state legislative primary elections by Mar. 15, 2022. [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, § 2Opinion of the Justices, 283 A.2d 234 (Me. 1971)]

Public input

Neither the legislature nor the advisory commission have announced specific plans for public input this cycle just yet.

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 the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

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

Maine’s legislature passed a congressional plan (LD 1590) on Sept. 27, 2011, which was signed by the Governor on Sept. 28, 2011.

Maine’s legislature passed a state legislative plan (LD 1557) on June 5, 2013, which was signed by the Governor on June 14, 2013.

The congressional plan was challenged in federal court, and upheld.  [Desena v. Maine, 793 F. Supp. 2d 456 (D. Me. 2011); Turcotte v. LePage, No. 1:11-cv-00312, 2011 WL 6057844 (D. Me. Nov. 30, 2011)]

2000 cycle

Maine’s legislature enacted a plan for the state House (LD 1610), 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)]

Redistricting Cases in Maine

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Maine | State Supreme | Process
In Re 2021 Apportionment
State court action asking court to extend constitutional deadline to publish proposed plans in light of census delay
Last Updated May 24, 2021
Case Number

Docket No. SJC-21-4

Cycle 2020
Maine | Federal Trial | Federal Appellate | Process
Turcotte v. LePage
Federal court rejected challenge to composition of advisory commission
Last Updated Jan 30, 2013
Case Number

No. 01:11-cv-00312 (D. Me), No. 12-1229 (1st Cir.)

Cycle 2010

2020 Maine Maps Available for Download

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Maine | 2020
Number of Maps 3
Last Updated Oct 22, 2021
Cycle 2020