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Redistricting: Backup Maps

Backup MapsIn the (relatively common) event that the body responsible for redistricting in a given state cannot come to an agreement on a map, many states have opted to have a backup plan. State Supreme Courts are charged with drawing backup maps in California, Maine, and New Jersey for both state legislative and congressional maps and in Florida and Louisiana for state legislative maps only. In California, after final maps are approved, they are voted on by the public via referendum. If a map is overturned by the public, the California Supreme Court must appoint a committee to draw a new map. Backup commissions are called on to draw maps for both state legislative and congressional districts in Connecticut, for state legislative districts only in Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas, and for congressional districts only in Indiana and Ohio.

Other states have more specific and unique methods for drawing backup maps:

Iowa: If the first maps drawn by Iowa’s Legislative Services Agency (LSA) are not passed by the legislature, the LSA is given the opportunity to draft a second proposal. If that proposal also fails, the LSA drafts a third proposal. If the third proposal also fails, then the LSA is given the authority to pass its own maps without legislative interference.

Kansas: If the state legislative map (passed by the state legislature) is overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court, the legislature may attempt to redraw lines.

Maryland: The governor proposes a backup state legislative map that takes effect if the legislature is unable to come to an agreement.

Missouri: The state demographer proposes a backup state legislative map that becomes law unless the political appointee commission amends the map via a 70% vote.

New York: The state legislature may amend maps proposed by the advisory commission if it votes the maps down two times.

Oregon: If the state legislature is unable to pass a map, Oregon’s Secretary of State is responsible for drawing the state legislative map only.

Pennsylvania: If the first 4 members of the political appointee commission are unable to select a fifth tie-breaking member to serve as the commission’s chair, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court must appoint a chair.


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