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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: Redistricting Time Again

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  October 4, 2021 --

Every ten years, after the completion of the national census, Connecticut evaluates and adjusts State and Congressional voting districts.

Redistricting is a process where they are redefining the voter’s districts.  They   are   redrawing the line using the most recent census data along with  other data. They start with calculating the appropriate population  levels to even out the population of the district. That is the easy part. They are also looking at voter registration records, homeownership, and demographics (population totals, voting age, race/ethnicity). The goal is to create balanced districts using these demographics that  are  fair to both parties, which surprisingly usually happens.

Connecticut exhibited a small growth since the last census and has a population of 3.6 million. This growth has  occurred  mostly in the southwestern portion of the state. Hartford lost population but Stamford gained. This will mean that some mostly western districts will become more compact in size while others mostly in the east will grow in size.

This process starts with the General Assembly’s Reappointment Committee who must present their proposed maps by the constitutional deadline of September 15th. Their map will then be presented  to the full Legislature who will vote to approve these districts. This committee only met a few times and held a few public hearings, but never produce any district maps by the deadline.

The Reappointment Committee has now disbanded, and a backup commission will now be created. This commission usually  consists of the eight legislative leaders and a ninth person who is elected into the position. This new commission must produce congressional and assembly districts maps before a November 30th deadline. These proposed districts  do not need to be brought forward to the General Assembly for approval, they will be set as approved by the commission. If the commission cannot agree on the district lines, the process moves to the Connecticut Supreme Court. The court has only been called on to define district lines once, and that was the last redistricting for congressional districts.

Traditionally the redistricting process has been done behind closed doors. This time there is an option for the public to follow and submit suggestions for districts. There are three free, online mapping tools that are preloaded with the census and election data where you can access the district maps. The sites are: Districtr.org , DavesRedistricting.org , and DistrictBuilder.org .



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