Plan Keeps Waterville In 1St District, Moves Augusta To 2Nd

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's bipartisan redistricting commission has agreed to move the state capital of Augusta into the 2nd Congressional District while leaving the city of Waterville in the 1st.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the 15-member Apportionment Commission approved the new district alignments in a unanimous vote Friday. Democrats had wanted to shift Waterville and its Democratic leaning voters into the more rural and conservative 2nd District, but the commission compromised in hopes of drawing the necessary two-thirds support in the state Legislature next week.

The panel was tasked with creating new districts that reflect the state's 2.7% population growth over the last decade. They needed to move about 23,300 voters from the 1st District, which includes Portland, to the 2nd, which encompasses Lewiston, Bangor and more than two-thirds of the state’s land mass.

Monday is the deadline for submitting a plan to lawmakers. A delay in the release of U.S. Census data, blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic, forced the commission to develop its plan in six weeks instead of the usual 18 months.