redistricting

Many 2020 Map Makers Will Be Decided This Cycle
Experts say 2018 midterms are still important for upcoming redistricting

Gerrymandering activists Helenmary Ball, left, posing as Maryland’s 5th District, and Rachael Lemberg, posing as the 3rd District, gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as the court prepares to hear the Benisek v. Lamone case in March. The case challenges Maryland’s 2012 congressional redistricting. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5/25/18 7:00 p.m. | More than three-fifths of governors deciding new district lines in the 2020 cycle will be elected this year, a new study by the National Conference of State Legislatures found.

One-third of state senators country-wide and all Alabama lawmakers will elected during the 2018 midterms will still be in office during the next redistricting cycle, the state government policy research group found. While redistricting seems a long way away, experts say the governorship and state races mean parties should be focusing on this year’s midterms.

Voters Challenge Ohio Congressional Map as Partisan Gerrymander
Supreme Court expected to rule on similar cases before term ends in June

Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty represents the 3rd District, which the lawsuit says is “shaped like a snowflake.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Civil rights groups and Ohio voters filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the state’s congressional districts as unconstitutional, as the Supreme Court readies decisions in similar cases about whether maps can be rejected if they entrench an advantage for one party.

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, seeks a new congressional map for Ohio. But it almost certainly comes too late in the 2018 election cycle to affect districts ahead of the November vote. Ohio already held its primary election under the current map on May 8.

Ohio Passes Bipartisan Redistricting Ballot Initiative to Curb Gerrymandering
The new redistricting rules ban partisan gerrymandering through the state consitution.

Voters leave the Medina County Early Voting site. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot proposal Tuesday to reform the state’s redistricting process by requiring bipartisan cooperation in making new maps.

After polls closed, three-quarters of votes counted backed the ballot initiative. The measure asked voters if they wanted to amend the state constitution to require bipartisanship while drawing new congressional districts.

Charlie Dent Leaving Congress At Week's End
Special election for his Pennsylvania seat expected to occur same day as Nov. 6 general

Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., is leaving Congress this week after submitting his formal resignation effective Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Charlie Dent is serving his last week of Congress, having submitted his formal resignation effective May 12. 

Dent, co-chairman of the moderate Republican Tuesday Group, had announced on April 17 that he would be resigning sometime in May. His decision to leave Congress early came as he neared a decision on several professional opportunities he had been considering for his retirement. 

Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny
Voter rights advocates worry the court could hand states a shield

Texas’ 35th District, represented by Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, is at the center of a gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could not only require Texas to redraw its congressional districts, but give states a way to defend against claims of gerrymandering.

This is the third case the justices will hear this term about how states draw legislative maps to gain a political advantage. Cases from Wisconsin and Maryland focus on whether those maps can be too partisan. The Texas case is a more traditional challenge to how state lawmakers draw the lines using voter data.

Three Big Hurdles for D.C. as Advocates Lobby for Statehood
Any form of Congress’ voting power would still have a few problems to overcome

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., speaks during a press conference to commemorate the renaming of the historic U.S. Post Office located at 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE in honor of Dr. Dorothy I. Height. Norton has been a longtime advocate of D.C. statehood. (Douglas Graham/Roll Call file photo)

Washington advocates used the leadup to Monday’s D.C. Emancipation Day celebrations to push once again for the District of Columbia to become a state.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., has been a leader in the D.C. statehood effort for decades — she’s known for asking to be referred around the Capitol as representative, despite her non-voting status. Norton spoke about D.C. statehood in Congress again Thursday night ahead of Emancipation Day.

Capitol Ink | Gerrymandered Egg Hunt

Supreme Court Grapples With Partisan Gerrymandering Once Again
Maryland case was second of three redistricting cases before justices this term

Anti-gerrymandering activists gather on the steps of the Supreme Court as it prepares to hear a case Wednesday that challenged the drawing of a Maryland congressional district. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court justices gave no clear indication Wednesday that they knew how to rule in key cases about partisan gerrymandering, with one justice pitching a sort of group argument to settle the various challenges on the issue from three states.

In oral arguments in a case from Maryland, several justices said facts about how Democratic lawmakers redrew the 6th District in 2011 — which swung it from a solid Republican to a Democratic seat in the next three elections — seemed to violate the Constitution.

Pennsylvania Officials Weigh Backing GOP Candidate for Costello’s Seat
Costello’s withdrawal left them with few options

Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan A. Costello announced he was not seeking re-election after the filing deadline. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Ryan A. Costello’s decision to retire has put Pennsylvania Republicans hoping to hold on to his seat in a bind, and they’re now weighing whether to back the only Republican candidate left in the race.

GOP leaders from Chester County will hold a conference call Thursday to discuss supporting Republican Greg McCauley, a tax lawyer who also filed to run in the 6th District before Costello announced his retirement, according to Val DiGiorgio, the state and Chester County GOP chairman. The county GOP was previously backing Costello, having announced its endorsements in February.

Ross: 2020 Census Will Ask About Citizenship Status
Commerce Department made announcement late Monday, despite outcry from Democrats

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has determined the 2020 Census should include a citizenship question. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Commerce Department has agreed to a request from the Justice Department to include a citizenship status question on the 2020 Census.

Commerce made the announcement late Monday, saying that the question would line up with the language used the American Community Survey.