Aug. 13, 2021 — Now four full months past the original deadline, the Census Bureau finally is scheduled to deliver to the states their census tract data, thus enabling the map-drawing process to begin.
While data was received yesterday, it will still be awhile before the public begins seeing even preliminary maps. The data must first be configured to the individual state’s redistricting software. Secondly, most state processes mandate hearings for public comment once the data is released. Each of these factors will happen prior to actual map construction. This notwithstanding, the critical element for each state, having the necessary data, is at long last occurring.
At the end of last year, we published a redistricting outlook that suggested Republicans, even though they control the process in a preponderance of states, could still find themselves down several seats in reapportionment and redistricting simply because of what could happen in the states that are gaining and losing congressional seats. (Go to: Ellis Insight Redistricting Outlook)
Some notable changes have occurred since the original piece was written, and now it appears the tables have turned toward the GOP as the party in best position to benefit nationally from the decennial district reconstruction process.
Below is a recap of the state situations that have changed:
Alabama: The original reapportionment prognostications suggested that Alabama would lose a congressional district. Republicans, because they control all but a Civil Rights-protected seat, were sure to take the loss. Likely due to a population surge in the latter part of the decade, Alabama did not lose a seat, thus the GOP saves a sure net loss.
Colorado: Though Colorado has adopted a redistricting commission for the first time, the swing toward the Democrats suggested that their party would gain the new seat. The Colorado commission is the first to release a congressional map, based upon Census Bureau estimates, and while the new 8th District looked solidly Democratic, the newly configured 7th District, currently Democratic, slightly favors the GOP.
Though this map is just a preliminary draw, should this be the direction in which the commission heads Republicans could actually reap a one seat gain when the 2022 election cycle concludes.