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 Governor Mills 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.
Key Info for 2000 Cycle
Primary governing law
Key Info for 2010 Cycle
Primary governing law
Key Info for 2020 Cycle
Primary governing law
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)]
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, § 2; Opinion of the Justices, 283 A.2d 234 (Me. 1971)]
Neither the legislature nor the advisory commission have announced specific plans for public input this cycle just yet.
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]
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)]
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)]