Skip to Main Content
New Feature! To download maps for offline use and create comparisons in other applications, visit the section Maps For Download.
Prof. Justin Levitt's Doug Spencer's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

State Summary

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

On Nov. 5, 2021 Gov. Charlie Baker signed H.4217 and S.2563, approving the state House and Senate redistricting plans.

In the 2010 cycle, the legislature passed congressional plans (H. 3798) on Nov. 16, 2011, which were signed by the Governor on Nov. 21, 2011.  The legislature passed state Senate (S. 2045) and state House (H. 3770) plans on Nov. 1, 2011, which were signed by the governor on Nov. 3, 2011.

,

Seats: (projected)

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
  Upper House:
  Lower House:
  Governor:

Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Primary governing law

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Download Data for ,

Shapefile GeoJSON PDF

Shapefile source:

The Latest Updates

Nov 17, 2021
The Massachusetts Legislature approved a congressional redistricting map, sending H.4256 to Governor Charlie Baker's desk.
Nov 5, 2021
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed H.4217 and S.2563, approving the state House and Senate redistricting plans.
Nov 3, 2021
The Massachusetts Special Joint Committee on Redistricting released proposed congressional redistricting maps.
Nov 1, 2021
Massachusetts Secretary of State Galvin published a memo that criticizes the state's new redistricting plans as impractical. Because the new plans split hundreds of voting precincts, "election administration [will be] nearly impossible in some instances." Galvin, a Democrat, predicted that "Congressional districts will only further complicate these issues" and publicly stated that the new state legislative maps are "a devastating blow to the voters of Massachusetts."
Oct 28, 2021
The Massachusetts Legislature voted to approve new state Senate and House redistricting maps, which will now go to Governor Charlie Baker for final review.
Oct 19, 2021
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Redistricting has proposed new state legislative districts.
May 4, 2021
The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting is holding a series of virtual meetings to receive public input on the redistricting process.
Apr 14, 2021
The Massachusetts Special Joint Committee on Redistricting held its first meeting on April 14, 2021.

Institution

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

The Massachusetts constitution vests original jurisdiction in the state Supreme Court for review of state legislative lines in state court. By statute, the legislature has provided a similar provision for congressional lines. [Mass. Const. amend. art. CI, § 32011 Mass. Legis. ch. 177, § 10 (H. 3798)]

Timing

Massachusetts state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by June 7, 2022. [Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 53, §§ 10, 48]  The legislative session began on Jan. 6, 2021, and continues through the end of the year.

State legislative lines must be drawn in the first legislative session after the federal Census is conducted; that session began on Jan. 6, 2021, and continues through the end of the year.  [Mass. Const. amend. art. CI]  Candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by May 31, 2022. [Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 53, §§ 10, 48]

Massachusetts law appears to tie the drawing of state legislative lines to the Census, and to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Mass. Const. amend. art. CXIX]

Public input

The Special Joint Committee on Redistricting is holding a series of virtual meetings to receive public input on the redistricting process.

Criteria

Like all states, Massachusetts must comply with constitutional equal population requirements, and further requires that its state legislative districts be as nearly equal in population “as may be.” [Mass. Const. amend. art. CI]

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

Massachusetts law further provides that state legislative districts be contiguous, and that they reasonably preserve counties, towns, and cities intact, where otherwise possible. There are no similar provisions for congressional districts. [Mass. Const. amend. art. CIMayor of Cambridge v. Secretary, 436 Mass. 476 (2002).]

2010 cycle

The Massachusetts legislature passed congressional plans (H. 3798) on Nov. 16, 2011, which were signed by the Governor on Nov. 21, 2011.

The legislature passed state Senate (S. 2045) and state House (H. 3770) plans on Nov. 1, 2011, which were signed by the governor on Nov. 3, 2011.

It appears that the plans were not challenged in court.

2000 cycle

The Massachusetts legislature enacted congressional plans (H. 4778) on Feb. 11, 2002, without the Governor’s signature. The legislature enacted state Senate (S. 2165) and state House (H. 4701) plans, signed by the Governor on Nov. 8, 2001.

The state House plan was challenged in state and federal court; the plan was upheld in state court, but struck down in federal court, based on violations of the Voting Rights Act. The state submitted an adjusted map that was approved by the court on Apr. 16, 2004, and then formally enacted by the legislature (H. 4686) and signed by the Governor on Apr. 21, 2004.  [Black Political Task Force v. Galvin, 300 F. Supp. 2d 291 (D. Mass. 2004); Mayor of Cambridge v. Secretary, 436 Mass. 476 (2002); McClure v. Secretary, 436 Mass. 614 (2002)]