How congressional redistricting works in your state

The once-a-decade redrawing of U.S. congressional and state legislative boundaries is underway across the country. The process, known as redistricting, will alter the country’s political landscape, as parties and interest groups jockey to shape districts in ways that could cement their advantage for the next 10 years.

The stakes are sky high. Republicans need to flip only five congressional seats to win back the House majority in 2022, and Democrats fear the GOP’s advantage in state legislatures could help tip the balance.

What changed since the last redistricting cycle?

The coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the Trump administration’s losing battle to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census enumeration, delayed the release of 2020 Census redistricting data by about four months.

As in the 2010 cycle, Republicans enjoy an advantage over the process: In the 37 states where elected officials could ultimately decide the borders of congressional maps, 20 are fully in Republican control, eight are held by Democrats, and nine are split. Still, the gap between the parties’ power has closed slightly since the last cycle.

In seven states, power to draw new congressional districts falls to so-called independent commissions. Unlike other commissions, which either include elected politicians or which can make recommendations but can be overridden by legislatures, independent commissions are designed to be nonpartisan and are empowered to submit final redistricting proposals.

The independent commissions’ work in the coming months could provide evidence for advocates who would like to see more states adopt them — or to opponents who say they can be gamed to serve political ends.

In the redistricting cycle following the 2010 Census, legislative deadlocks and legal challenges resulted in many districts eventually being determined by courts. This cycle, both parties are gearing up for another round of intense litigation.

Meanwhile, two landmark Supreme Court decisions of the past decade have given states more control over the shape of districts.

First, in 2013, the Supreme Court rendered unenforceable the Voting Rights Act’s requirement that certain states with a history of racial discrimination obtain clearance from the Justice Department before enacting new maps. Then, in 2019, the Court ruled that federal judges do not have the power to stop partisan gerrymandering, with politicians drawing districts to preserve or expand their party’s power.

What constraints do map-drawers have to consider?

Although states enjoy wider latitude when drawing electoral districts, they remain constrained by the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. As a result, mapmakers must ensure each electoral district includes about the same number of people, and they must not draw districts that discriminate against voters on the basis of race or ethnicity.

[How the racial makeup of where you live has changed since 1990]

By amending state constitutions or passing laws, many states have imposed further requirements on their mapmakers. In some states, state courts have established precedents that could affect how maps are drawn.

How quickly do states have to settle on a map?

As a result of the census delays, mapmakers across the country will be pressed for time as they race to draw new congressional and state legislative boundaries.

Each state imposes different deadlines upon its mapmaking process — and many states are adjusting those deadlines to accommodate the delayed census release — but every state will need to have its district boundaries ready in time for congressional candidates to file for next year’s primaries. Filing deadlines vary from state to state — Texas’s Dec. 13 filing deadline is the earliest, while Rhode Island’s is not until June 29, 2022.

What else can you tell me about how redistricting works in each state?

Use the menu below to learn more about the redistricting landscape in each state.

Alabama

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Alaska

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Arizona

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Arkansas

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


California

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Colorado

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Connecticut

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Delaware

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Florida

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Georgia

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Hawaii

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Idaho

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Illinois

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Indiana

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Iowa

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Kansas

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Kentucky

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Louisiana

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Maine

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Maryland

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Massachusetts

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Michigan

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Minnesota

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Mississippi

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Missouri

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Montana

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Nebraska

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Nevada

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


New Hampshire

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


New Jersey

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


New Mexico

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


New York

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


North Carolina

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


North Dakota

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Ohio

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Oklahoma

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Oregon

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Pennsylvania

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Rhode Island

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


South Carolina

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


South Dakota

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Tennessee

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Texas

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Utah

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Vermont

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Virginia

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Washington

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


West Virginia

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Wisconsin

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


Wyoming

The state will have 0 congressional district, the same as it had following the 2010 Census. D.C. does not have voting representation in Congress.


About this story

This article relies on several sources to help categorize states’ redistricting processes: All About Redistricting, the Brennan Center for Justice, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Wang et. al. 2021 and Ballotpedia. However, when those sources were unclear or in disagreement, The Washington Post consulted redistricting experts and lawyers, state constitutions, statutes, court rulings and legislative guidelines to decide on categorizations.

The Post chose to include criteria from state constitutions, statutes and court cases, but not from legislative committee guidelines, which are easier for legislatures to change or ignore.

When categorizing states according to the entity or institution that decides on new congressional maps this article categorizes states based on the entity that can ultimately exercise power over the map’s boundaries, rather than any group that has a formal role in suggesting new maps. Nebraska’s nonpartisan state legislature is functionally controlled by Republicans.

Design and development by Harry Stevens, Adrián Blanco, Tyler Remmel, Daniela Santamariña and Ashlyn Still. Additional reporting by Colby Itkowitz and Ted Mellnik. Additional contributions by Peter Andringa. Editing by Kevin Uhrmacher, Lauren Tierney and Cathlen Decker. Copy editing by Dorine Bethea.

If you have questions about the information found in this article, please email us.