(Corrects location of Arizona’s 2nd District to the southeastern corner of the state.)
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States anxious to start redrawing district lines can thank Ohio.
That state’s lawsuit leveraged a guarantee today that the U.S. Census Bureau will release the extremely detailed data needed for remapping no later than Aug. 16.
READ MORE from Alex Ebert.
OREGON: NEW MEANING FOR LEFT COAST?
Every state gets to decide for itself how to keep communities intact during redistricting. In Oregon, that could mean creating a congressional district that hugs the state’s entire Pacific Coast.
Treating the people who live closest to the ocean as a “community of interest” is an idea that’s been floated in public hearings and joint legislative redistricting meetings as lawmakers prepare to create six House seats where now there are five.
Given recent voting trends, a seaboard district could be unpredictable, said Priscilla Southwell, a political science professor emeritus at the University of Oregon.
The Democrats who control redistricting are “very cognizant of there are a lot of Republicans in this blue state,” Southwell said. “I would say there’s going to be pressure to have this sixth congressional district be more of a toss-up.”
The Oregon coast is currently represented by Democrats Peter DeFazio, Suzanne Bonamici, and Kurt Schrader. — Joyce E. Cutler
COLORADO, CONNECTICUT: MAKING VOTING EASIER
The Colorado General Assembly has sent a bill (H.B. 1011) to Gov. Jared Polis (D) that would create multilingual ballot hotlines to provide voters with access to translators or interpreters if they need one on Election Day. It also would mandate minority-language sample ballots in certain counties.
In Connecticut, a House-passed bill (H.B. 6205) would let any voter caring for someone else who’s sick or disabled request an absentee ballot. Today, caregiving isn’t a valid excuse for not showing up in person. — Tripp Baltz and Adrianne Appel
ARKANSAS: ELECTION LITIGATION TO WATCH
Voting laws enacted this year in Arkansas are already in court.
The League of Women Voters of Arkansas is challenging four new laws (Act 736, Act 973, Act 249, Act 728), arguing that they will “restrict nearly every form of voting that Arkansans relied on in 2020.”
Among the changes being contested: banning anyone—caregivers included—from physically assisting voters. The new statutes “will make it hard—and, in some cases, impossible—for lawful voters to exercise their right to vote,” according to the complaint. — Stephen Joyce
ARIZONA: LESS REDISTRICTING RISK IN THE CORNER
Waiting for redistricting must be excruciating for wannabe candidates who’d rather know where the lines are before they commit to running. For a lucky few, though, the angst level is low.
Case in point: Arizona state Rep. Randy Friese (D), who lives in the southeastern part of that very angular state, has been campaigning for Congress since March in a bid to succeed retiring 2nd District Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D).
While Friese anticipates not ending up a candidate without a district, for some other hopefuls, it makes sense to “just lay low,” said Tom Davis (R-Va.), who led the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2001-2002 redistricting cycle.
“If you announce, the person who you’re running against may have some clout with the people drawing the districts, and they may draw you out of a district,” Davis said. — Greg Giroux
GEORGIA: RACIAL PATTERNS
Redistricting could blunt Black voting clout in Georgia, says the advocacy group Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which is concerned that the Republican-majority legislature could be motivated to pack voters of color into the smallest possible number of seats.
GOP support’s been declining in the Atlanta suburbs, which helped Democrats win the 2020 presidential race and both of Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats.
The group’s analysis of voting patterns concluded that state legislative districts where at least 40% of registered voters are Black almost always elect Democrats. Republicans were almost always the choice in districts where at least 55% of voters are white, according to the group’s May 21 report. — Chris Marr
NEW YORK: HELP WANTED
Now that funding’s being released to New York’s sidelined redistricting commission, the panel has to figure out how to build its infrastructure in a hurry.
A website vendor couldn’t be hired without money, so the panel, which is legally required to hold public hearings throughout the state, decided to delay its listening tour until there’s a place online to display the schedule. “I think we’re running out of time,” said commission member Jack Martins.
The commission has a Sept. 15 deadline for its draft plan. — Keshia Clukey
Ballots & Boundaries is your weekly check-in on what states are doing to change voting laws and reconfigure political boundaries in once-a-decade redistricting.
To contact the reporters on this story: Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org; Stephen Joyce in Chicago at email@example.com; Greg Giroux in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org; Keshia Clukey in Albany, N.Y. at email@example.com; Chris Marr in Atlanta at firstname.lastname@example.org; Adrianne Appel in Boston at email@example.com; Tripp Baltz in Denver at firstname.lastname@example.org