Redistricting Passes the Halfway Point: Ballots & Boundaries

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Whoa, we’re more than halfway there (with apologies to Bon Jovi).

Before the new year began, Arizona, California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia approved their congressional maps, bringing the total to 27.

For some incumbents, the new lines likely mean more competitive re-election campaigns. In Virginia, for instance, the new boundaries set up swing seats in areas represented by two-term Democratic Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger, both narrowly re-elected in 2020.

In New Jersey, the new map is a setback for Rep. Tom Malinowski (D), whose competitive 7th District would absorb Republican precincts in the northwest. Malinowski was re-elected in 2020 by 1.2 percentage points over state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R), who already announced a rematch.

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Where to examine each of the completed congressional maps:
Alabama | Arizona | Arkansas | California| Colorado |Georgia | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Maine | Maryland| Massachusetts | Michigan | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Jersey | New Mexico | North Carolina | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Texas | Utah | Virginia | West Virginia

MINNESOTA: BACKUP PLAN
A court hearing is underway in Minnesota, where a five-judge panel is considering which redistricting maps should prevail if the state legislature doesn’t get the job done by a Feb. 15 deadline.

Among today’s arguments: that rural voters need their own members of Congress. Elizabeth Brama, a Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP partner representing intervenors in the case, urged the judges to get behind a 5-3 split, with five Minneapolis-St. Paul-area seats. She argued that making sure the suburbs don’t overlap with outlying areas would keep maps neutral, fair, and less confusing the voters.

The judges take over if maps aren’t signed into law by Feb. 15. The state legislature is next scheduled to convene Jan. 31, giving lawmakers and the governor a limited amount of time to get maps passed. — Stephen Joyce

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NEW YORK: DUELING MAPS
New York’s independent redistricting commission couldn’t agree on congressional and state district lines.

So lawmakers are getting two versions to consider, one drawn by Republicans, one by Democrats. The state Senate and Assembly could accept one of the maps, or instruct the commission to try again under a Feb. 28 deadline. — Keshia Clukey

PENNSYLVANIA: LEADERSHIP SWITCH
A vote-by-mail advocate has been tapped to oversee Pennsylvania’s elections.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said he would appoint Leigh Chapman as acting secretary of the commonwealth. Chapman is executive director of Deliver My Vote, which encourages voters to register to receive ballots by mail if their states allow it.

She’ll succeed Veronica Degraffenreid, who clashed with Republicans in the state Senate over their probe of the November 2020 general election. Degraffenreid will become a special adviser to the governor. — Jennifer Kay

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With assistance from Kimberly Wayne, Greg Giroux, and Chris Marr

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephen Joyce in Chicago at sjoyce@bloomberglaw.com; Jennifer Kay in Miami at jkay@bloomberglaw.com; Keshia Clukey in Albany, N.Y. at kclukey@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com

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