This proposal would amend Maine's Constitution to more closely align the time frames for reapportioning electoral districts for federal, state and county offices with the federal census. It would also make the process for reapportionment of congressional and county commissioner districts part of the Constitution.
Maine's Constitution currently provides that legislative districts must be reapportioned based on census data every ten years, starting in 1983. This means that redistricting occurs in the third year after the federal decennial census. The proposed constitutional amendment would move the year of redistricting up to the first year following the census, meaning that redistricting based on the 2020 federal census would be accomplished in 2021 (instead of in 2023) and every ten years thereafter. Under the amendment, the apportionment commission established under the Constitution would have until June 1st of that year in which to submit a plan to the Legislature for reapportioning legislative districts. The Legislature would be required to enact either that plan or its own plan by June 11th.
All other aspects of reapportionment for legislative districts would remain as currently written in the Constitution. These include the requirements that a plan be enacted by a two-thirds vote of each legislative body and that if the Legislature fails to adopt a plan by the June 11 deadline, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court shall make the apportionment.
The process for reapportioning congressional districts and county commissioner districts currently exists only in statute. This amendment would incorporate those procedures into Maine's Constitution. The same commission established to reapportion legislative districts would also be required to submit an apportionment plan for congressional and county commissioner districts to the Legislature by June 1st of 2021 and every ten years thereafter. The Legislature would have until June 11th of that year to enact the commission's plan or its own plan for the congressional districts. The schedule would be slightly different for county commissioner districts.
The Clerk of the House of Representatives would be required to submit the commission's plan for county commissioner districts to the Legislature, in the form of a legislative document, by no later than January 15, 2022 (and every 10th year thereafter). The Legislature would then have to enact that proposal or its own plan within 30 days.
All of the other procedures and substantive standards that are currently set forth in statute for reapportioning congressional and county commissioner districts would be inserted into the Constitution under this amendment. These include the requirements that a reapportionment plan must be enacted by a two-thirds vote of each legislative body, and that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court shall make the apportionment if the Legislature fails to adopt a plan by its deadline. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court also would retain authority to hear any challenge to the constitutionality of a reapportionment plan under this amendment.
A "YES" vote approves the constitutional amendment.
A "NO" vote disapproves the constitutional amendment.
Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to change the years of redistricting the Maine Legislature, congressional districts and county commissioner districts after 2013 from 2023 and every 10th year thereafter to 2021 and every 10th year thereafter?