who is in charge of drawing congressional elections ?
- Anonymous4 years agoFavorite Answer
Different people are in charge of drawing the district lines in different states.
In most states, the state legislature has primary control of the redistricting process, both for state legislative districts and for congressional districts. 37 state legislatures have primary control of their own district lines, and 42 legislatures have primary control over the congressional lines in their state (including five of the states with just one congressional district).
In most of these states, district lines pass just like regular legislation, with a majority vote in each legislative chamber, subject to a veto by the Governor. Connecticut and Maine both require supermajorities, of two-thirds in each house, to approve a redistricting plan. And five of the states above -- Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, and North Carolina -- set district lines by joint resolution, without the potential for a gubernatorial veto.
Five of the states above -- Iowa, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont -- appoint advisory commissions, to help advise the legislature about where the state legislative district lines should be drawn (there is a more detailed description of Iowa's special procedure here). Ohio (and as of 2011, Rhode Island) do the same for congressional lines. (In most states, legislative committees draft initial redistricting plans, just like they draft most legislation. But in these states with advisory committees, non-legislators are also invited to formally participate on the initial drafting body.)
The legislature is not bound by what these advisory commissions recommend, but because the legislative leadership usually has a role in appointing the commission's membership, the commission's advice tends to influence the legislature's final decision substantially.
In Virginia, the governor issued an executive order in 2011 creating a similar advisory commission for his own benefit, but it is not yet clear whether the legislature will pay any special attention to this commission's input.
If advisory commissions influence redistricting maps before they go to the legislature, backup commissions have their influence afterward. In seven of the states above -- Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas -- there are special backup procedures to draw state district lines if the legislature does not successfully pass a plan. (Connecticut and Indiana use backup commissions for congressional districts.) Usually, a specific deadline in the state constitution triggers the backup commission's work.
These backup commissions all look a bit different. In Maryland, redistricting falls to the Governor's preferred plan if the legislature fails to act. In Oregon, the Secretary of State is the backup actor. In Connecticut and Illinois, the backup commission is composed of members selected by the legislative leadership. In Mississippi and Texas, the backup commission includes specific statewide elected officials, like the State Treasurer or state Attorney General. In Oklahoma, a 2010 citizen's initiative blended these models, establishing a backup commission composed of the Lieutenant Governor, and several members selected by the majority party's legislative leadership and the Governor.
In all of the states above, the legislature is primarily in charge of redistricting. Elsewhere, some other entity draws the lines. Seven states -- Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania -- draw state legislative districts with so-called "politician commissions," where elected officials may serve as members. (Hawaii and New Jersey use politician commissions for congressional districts.)
Each, again, is a bit different. In Arkansas and Ohio, specific elected officials have designated seats on the commission. In the other states, the legislative or party leadership nominates commissioners, usually with balanced numbers from each party, and sometimes with a role for the Governor or Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court to select nominees or appoint additional members of the commission.
Gerrymandering: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- Anonymous4 years ago
I assume you mean congressional districts. The states get to draw them. There are few federal regulations on how to do it. The districts must be of roughly equal population. They must also be physically contiguous. And, under the civil rights laws of the 1960s, they can't be drawn to disadvantage minority voters. But other than that they can mostly draw them as they please. Most states have their state legislatures draw the lines. The problem with that is that it allows the party which controls the state legislature to draw the federal districts to benefit themselves. That's part of why we have a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. The Republicans made an effort to capture as many state houses as they could before the redistricting which occurred after 2010. This allowed them to redraw the boundaries in many states to benefit their candidates. In 2014 in Ohio, for example, the Republicans got fifty something percent of the vote in Congressional elections but, because of the districts which they drew, they got IIRC almost three quarters of the House seats.
Other states use some form of nominally non partisan commission. The advantage of this is that they theoretically cut down an gerrymandering, or the practice of drawing districts to benefit one party or the other.