PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is allowing the state more time for redistricting because of delays in the release of detailed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Under the Maine Constitution, lawmakers have until early June of the year following every U.S. census to approve congressional and legislative districts drafted by an independent redistricting commission.
But those deadlines were made impossible by U.S. Census Bureau, which blamed the pandemic for delaying the release of detailed population data until next month, the Bangor Daily News reported.
Justices granted lawmakers' petition to delay the process on Tuesday, with Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill writing that the court should “seek to preserve the overall intent of the constitutional apportionment process to the greatest extent possible.”
Under the new timeline, the independent redistricting commission will have 45 days to come up with legislative and congressional maps after the census data arrives. Lawmakers will then have 10 days to vote on those maps.
The new timeline takes the process into the fall.
If the commission and lawmakers fail to reach an agreement, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court will have 60 days to decide on maps.
All told, the process involves two congressional districts, 35 state Senate districts and its 151 state House districts.