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Author Topic: US House Redistricting: Maine  (Read 16612 times)
Kevinstat
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« on: March 30, 2011, 06:40:12 pm »

This seems like a good enough development to start the forum discussion on Maine's congressional redistricting:

Quote
Lawsuit looks to speed up Maine redistricting
If congressional boundaries aren't redrawn, the votes of residents of the 1st District will be unfairly diluted, the complaint states.

By DAVID SHARP The Associated Press
...
Maine law requires congressional redistricting to be done in 2013. The lawsuit contends there's no good reason to wait until then because the 2010 census data are already available.
...
"Once we have the census data, there isn't really a good public policy reason not to incorporate that census data if it's logistically possible in time for the next congressional election," [plaintiffs' attorney Timothy] Woodcock said from his Bangor office. "The state should be compelled to do that."
...

Full article (from the online Portland Press Herald; the Bangor Daily News posted this earlier with what from a quick glance is the same text, but I cited from the PPH's article since they named an individual author from the AP as opposed to just "The Associated Press".)
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 06:29:32 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
JohnnyLongtorso
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 07:19:55 pm »

Maine, like Connecticut, requires a 2/3rds vote in the legislature to approve a map, so it will likely be drawn by the courts. This happened last time, and they minimized the shifting around of towns between districts.
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cinyc
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 07:36:38 pm »

Well, the current Congressional District populations aren't that far apart.  ME-01 has 668,515 residents. ME-02 659,846.  If the legislature wanted to keep current boundaries intact as much as possible, only 4,334 residents need to be shifted from ME-01 to ME-02.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 07:51:38 pm »

Maine, like Connecticut, requires a 2/3rds vote in the legislature to approve a map, so it will likely be drawn by the courts. This happened last time, and they minimized the shifting around of towns between districts.

That's a statutory requirement (for congressional and county commissioner redistricting; it's a constitutional requirement for legislative redistricting) and can be either amended, repealed or "notwithstood" by other legislation that can be passed in the normal way, ie. a simple majority among those present and voting in each house of the Legislature and being signed by the governor (or being vetoed and overturned by a 2/3 vote in each house of the Legislature, but with Republicans holding the "trifecta" in Maine but without supermajorities the former path is much, much more likely).

In 2003, the Democrats had the trifecta and an initial draft of Democratic congressional redistricting bill would have passed the majority plan of the Apportionment Commission (the chair of the commission voted with the Democrats on that plan), but if they had done that the Republicans would likely have withdrawn their support for the State House disrtrict plan and sent that process to the courts.  The Republicans had largely "won" the 1993 court battles on House and Senate redistricting (when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which makes the apportionment if the Legislature fails to do so, was dominated by McKernan (R) appointees) on the  and legislators were probably more willing to risk Mike Michaud getting a less favorable district than to risk themselves (and to a lesser extent, their party) getting a less favorable district.  The court's preliminary plan did put Knox County in the second district (that's where Chellie Pingree served in the State Senate and last I knew was still her official address (I know it was in 2008 when she was first elected to Congress), and she probably would not have been elected to Congress under that set of lines), and the Democrats actually made it clear to the court that they would prefer what had by the minority (Republican) congressinal district plan of the Apportionment Commission, which would have moved all of Waldo County to the first district and had the second district in Kennebec County hug Augasta very closely.  The Republicans' attorney, former Congressman and later Gubernatorial primary candidate David Emery, defended the court's preliminary plan, but the court ended up keeping tha changes to Kennebec County, although the portion of the first district in Kennebec County now looks to me like the head of some mythical beast.

The cheif counsel to the governor is an admitted Republican partisan but is also good government minded, and based on some correspondence I've had with him (I've posted for years at a conservative Maine political website) I think the Republicans will try to get a congressional district plan adopted this year than can command a 2/3 majority, perhaps not cancelling the 2013 redistricting and allowing the Apportionment commission to deliberate on that in 2013 along with legislative and county commissioner redistricting (he would like the 2/3 requirement for congressional and I think county commissioner districts added to the Maine Constitution).  The plantiffs' attorney, by the way, is a former mayor of Bangor (the city council elects the mayor from among their own, which has been the case in Portland although that will change this year) and ran for the open ME-02 seat in 2002, finishing recount close (there was a recount and Woodcock made up some ground but after the Bangor area was recounted with little to no difference he withdrew his recount request) to Kevin Raye (who's now the Senate President and one heartbeat away from replacing our portly governor) in the Republican primary.  I wouldn't be surprised if there's a connection between the lawsuit and Republicans in the Legislature/Governor's office, but I suspect more of a "let's get good government brownie points" way than "let's gerrymander Maine" way.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 12:09:29 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
Kevinstat
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2011, 12:03:50 pm »

Maine's ideal congressional district population in 2000: 1,274,923/2 = 637,461.5
Maine's ideal congressional district population in 2010: 1,328,361/2 = 664,180.5

Maine's Existing Congressional DistrictsSad

ME-01
Cumberland County (all)
Kennebec County (all except for Litchfield, Wayne, Fayette, Oakland, Waterville, Winslow, Benton and Clinton)
Knox County (all)
Lincoln County (all)
Sagadahoc County (all)
York County (all)
2000 census population: 637,450 (11.5 people (0.0018%) below state ideal)
2010 census population: 668,515 (4,334.5 people (0.6526%) above state ideal)

ME-02
Androsscoggin County (all)
Aroostook County (all)
Franklin County (all)
Hancock County (all)
Kennebec County (Litchfield, Wayne, Fayette, Oakland, Waterville, Winslow, Benton and Clinton)
Oxford County (all)
Penobscot County (all)
Piscataquis County (all)
Somerset County (all)
Waldo County (all)
Washington County (all)
2000 census population: 637,473 (11.5 people (0.0018%) above state ideal)
2010 census population: 659,846 (4,334.5 people (0.6526%) below state ideal)


My Prefered Maine Congressional District Plan (for the time being) for the 2012 elections (which could be revisited by the advisory Apportionment Commission in 2013)Sad

ME-01
Cumberland County (all)
Kennebec County (all except for Litchfield, Wayne, Fayette, Sidney, Oakland, Waterville, Winslow, Benton, and Clinton and Unity UT)
Knox County (all except for Isle Au Haut)
Lincoln County (all)
Sagadahoc County (all)
York County (all)
2000 census population: 633,826 (3,635.5 people (0.5703%) below state ideal)
2010 census population: 664,191 (10.5 people (0.0016%) above state ideal)

ME-02
Androsscoggin County (all)
Aroostook County (all)
Franklin County (all)
Hancock County (all)
Kennebec County (Litchfield, Wayne, Fayette, Sidney, Oakland, Waterville, Winslow, Benton, and Clinton and Unity UT)
Knox County (Isle Au Haut)
Oxford County (all)
Penobscot County (all)
Piscataquis County (all)
Somerset County (all)
Waldo County (all)
Washington County (all)
2000 census population: 641,097 (3,635.5 people (0.5703%) above state ideal)
2010 census population: 664,170 (10.5 people (0.0016%) below state ideal)

2010 census population of municipalities shifted between districts: 4,324 (0.33% of Maine's Population)
   From ME-01 to ME-02: (0.65% of current ME-01; 0.65% of proposed new ME-02)
   From ME-02 to ME-01: 0

So the faster growing district is the larger one unlike in the current plan as of the 2000 census, but the deviation of each district from the ideal is 1 less and you're only shifting territory 1 way (unlike in 2003), shifting 10 fewer people than you'd have to to get the districts within 1 person of each other.  Isle Au Haut is connected by ferry as far as I know only to Stonington on Deer Isle in Hancock County, which is connected by a pair of bridges to the Hancock County mainland.  And I imagine most of the 43 people (2010 census figures) in Unity Township (called Unity UT by the Census Bureau) live on or off state route 139 and are not connected via road to the rest of ME-01.  A road from Benton to Albion crosses a small corner of Unity Township, but any people who live on that very small stretch of road would be functionally contiguous to the main portions of each congressional district.  Sidney is bordered on three sides (including its two longer ones) by municipalities I have kept in ME-01 and on only one of its shorter sides by municipalities I have kept in ME-02, but one of the two long sides is along the Kennebec River where there is no bridge connecting Sidney to Vassalboro and much of the opposite side is Messalonskee Lake.  And public school students from Sidney go to high school (and last I knew, middle school) in Oakland, as do students from Belgrade and Rome which I've kept in ME-01 but I had to draw the line somewhere, and I'm envisioning this as a bipartisan two-year fix to the lines (with my own strong aesthetic preferences accounded for; I've long thought Isle Au Haut should be in the second district and the current Unity Township protrusion of the first district is rediculous, unless residents there vote in Albion which wouldn't make much sense as most of the town isn't connected to it while it's all connected to Benton; it's in a differend county than Unity so voting there might not be optimal).

The Democrats might not like any of Knox County being moved into the second district because of the precedence it might set about moving Knox County territory into the second district.  Chellie Pingree lives (or at least did as of 2010; well, as much as she doesn't live with her hedge fund manager and weathy campaign contributer boyfriend in Portland or the Virgin Islands) in North Haven (which seems to have a corner water boundary with Isle Au Haut, although it's ferry connection is to Rockland), and that's where she lived when she was in the State Senate.  But considering that the Republicans could fairly easily put her and Michaud in the same district (they could do pretty much whatever they want, and if the Democrats tried to lauch a people's veto against the plan I could see the courts ordering the one being suspended pending referendum to be used in 2012 even if the people's veto passed to ensure that the the plaintiffs got relief from their under-representation), taking one small town (2010 census population: 73) in her area out of her district and in with its ferry connection ought not to be too objectionable.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 04:57:15 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
Bacon King
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 05:02:33 pm »

Yeah, I never really understood why Maine waits the extra two years to redistrict.
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will101
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2011, 07:16:43 am »

Yeah, I never really understood why Maine waits the extra two years to redistrict.
The really good lobster has to age, and it's easier to redistrict on a full stomach.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2011, 06:50:56 pm »

Quote from: The Portland Press Herald
April 28
Redistricting suit seeks speedy resolution from judges
By David Hench dhench@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer


PORTLAND - A lawsuit that aims to speed up the redistricting of Maine's congressional districts is itself on a fast track, a panel of three federal judges said in Portland on Wednesday.
...
The judicial panel, chaired by a member of the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, gave the parties three weeks to submit written briefs. The panel will likely listen to oral arguments in the second week in June, just before the Legislature recesses on June 15.

The lawsuit is opposed by the Democratic Party, which fears an early redistricting would enable Republicans, who recently won control of the state House and Senate, to use their newfound clout to draw boundaries that favor their candidates.  ...

Former Attorney General Janet Mills, now of the firm Preti Flaherty, represents the Maine Democratic Party as an intervenor in the case.
...
Historically, the district boundaries have, at least initially, been developed by appointed commissions with members evenly split among the parties. Courts have stepped in when two-thirds of the Legislature could not agree on a plan. The two-thirds majority is required by state law, but the law could be changed by a simple majority vote by both houses.
...
A Democratic Party fund-raising solicitation Wednesday portrayed the lawsuit as an attempt by Republicans to gerrymander the state's two districts so Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, Democrats from North Haven and Millinocket respectively, would both live in the same district. If this happened, only one could run for re-election or the two would have to face off in the primaries.

Republican Party Chairman Charles Webster said he was aware of the suit but that the GOP is not involved in it.
...
[Plaintiffs' attorney and (2002 ME-2 Republican primary runner-up) Timothy] Woodcock said the lawsuit was brought with Republican leaders' knowledge but that it was not contingent on their approval. He did not comment on the plaintiffs' political affiliation, but Democrats say they are Republican activists.

The judicial panel consists of U.S. District Court Judges for Maine D. Brock Hornby and George Singal and First Circuit Judge Bruce Selya, the chairman.

Selya said the case will be considered in phases. Initially, the judges will determine whether the imbalance in the districts violates the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to due process and the principal of one person, one vote. If there is no violation, then the case ends and the redrawing schedule remains as is.

If the judges decide the current arrangement does violate the plaintiffs' rights to equal representation, they will then consider how to remedy the imbalance.

That could involve calling the Legislature into special session to consider district boundaries or having the judges decide, Selya said.

Having the three-judge panel hear the case shows the importance the court assigns to it, Woodcock said. An appeal of the panel's ruling would go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, he said.

The lawsuit ostensibly targets Gov. Paul LePage, Secretary of State Charles Summers and Republican legislative leaders. The Maine Attorney General's Office is charged with arguing to keep the district-redrawing schedule the way it is. A spokesperson for the office would not comment on the pending litigation.

Full article

-----

We don't care about "fair share" (like a 75 word limit without express permission to go beyond that) regarding quoting newspaper articles at this forum, do we?  I paired the article down some but there were too many things I didn't want people to miss if they didn't click on the above link to the full article.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 06:52:53 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
JohnnyLongtorso
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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2011, 09:18:25 pm »

So what, they desperately want a chance to try to gerrymander a 2-district state? How Republican could you make ME-02, really?
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2011, 11:18:16 pm »

So what, they desperately want a chance to try to gerrymander a 2-district state? How Republican could you make ME-02, really?

Chellie Pingree's hometown of North Haven is at the eastern end of ME-01 and could easily be put in the same district as East Millinocket (Michaud's hometown).  Under Maine law, candidates for Representative to Congress have to live in the district they are running in, not just in the state which I know is all the U.S. Constitution requires.  Pingree could still run in ME-01 while keeping her legal address in North Haven if it was moved to ME-02, and could easily "move" to Portland (I think she or her hedge fund manager boyfriend already have a home or apartment there), but part of her appeal is her connections to North Haven, where she served in the Maine Senate from and ran a successful small business (something to do with clothing, I think, by magazine rather than through a store), and that would could be weakened slightly if she had to change her legal residence to Portland in order to run for reelection North Haven was no longer in her district.

If she chose to run in the new district including North Haven that would likely mean running against Michaud, and while the primary would not be a lost cause depending on the district (like if Michaud lost Lewiston/Auburn and the entire mid-coast and the Augusta area was shifted into ME-02), she would likely run poorly in northern and downeast Maine and state Democratic leaders would likely suggest she still run or even move "back" into the first district.  A Portland-based challenger could possibly emerge, and while such a challenge would likely fissile (Pingree would have all the institutional backing) it could cause her some headaches.

The midcoast would not be particularly good territory for Michaud either, although in 2010 he did slightly better than district-wide in Waldo County and slightly wore than district-wide in Androscoggin County, where his opponent was from (Auburn) and where the Lewiston-Auburn suburbs are strongly trending Republican (Michaud lost 5 of the 7 towns in ME-02 that surround Lewiston and Auburn).

Basically, the Republicans couldn't draw more than a leaning Republican, but they could give Pingree and Michaud headaches which might be worth it for them (particularly giving Pingree headaches).  If they stretched the second district down the midcoast all the way to and including Portland like a preliminary plan of there's did in 2003, then it would become fairly likely that one of the Maine's current U.S. Represetntatives would be out of office come 2013, but the result could well be one of the two current congresspeople and a new Democratic congressperson.

[Edited to correct the false statement I believed to be true at the time that Maine law required candidates for the U.S. House to live in the district there running in (apparently it can't, but in any event it doesn't), and to adjust my analysis accordingly.]
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 07:41:50 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
jimrtex
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2011, 02:53:37 am »


Chellie Pingree's hometown of North Haven is at the eastern end of ME-01 and could easily be put in the same district as East Millinocket (Michaud's hometown).  Under Maine law, candidates for Representative to Congress have to live in the district they are running in, not just in the state which I know is all the U.S. Constitution requires.

Maine (nor Congress for that matter) may not add qualifications for Representatives.  The requirement is to live in the State on election day.

I think you would be better of trying to pick up some more Republicans for ME-2.  You can't eliminate Aroostook from ME-2.  Is even Oxford possible?
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2011, 11:43:42 am »


Chellie Pingree's hometown of North Haven is at the eastern end of ME-01 and could easily be put in the same district as East Millinocket (Michaud's hometown).  Under Maine law, candidates for Representative to Congress have to live in the district they are running in, not just in the state which I know is all the U.S. Constitution requires.

Maine (nor Congress for that matter) may not add qualifications for Representatives.  The requirement is to live in the State on election day.

I didn't know that, thanks.  I was wrong when I said that Maine law required candidates for Representative to Congress to live in the district they're running in.  I've looked through where it would be in the Nominations chapter of Maine's election law title and didn't see any such requirment, and the Maine 2010 Candidates Guide to Ballot Access (PDF) just mentions a Maine residency requirement with the only statutory reference being to the U.S. Constitution.  Not that it would matter if the state had additional requirements if they would be deemed null and void, but I thought I'm mention that I was wrong about there even being such a provision in Maine law.  If all of York and Cumberland Counties are still in the same district, then Pingree would likely run in that one, but some of the territory both she and Michaud might each not be as good a fit for the territory she/he would be gaining as for the territory she/he would be losing.

I think you would be better of trying to pick up some more Republicans for ME-2.  You can't eliminate Aroostook from ME-2.  Is even Oxford possible?

Well, if you moved the remainder of Kennebec County Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc and part of Cumberland County into ME-02 (but a small enough portion that a majority of the population of the current ME-01 would remain in ME-01), you could go clockwise along the New Hampshire and Canadian borders and shift the whole counties of Oxford, Franklin, Somerset and Aroostook Counties to ME-01.  But yeah, any plan that wasn't totally rediculous (and that wouldn't reliably benefit anyone but wuold just tick a bunch of people off) would keep Aroostook in ME-02.  Moving Oxford County into ME-01 is definitely doable, though.  York, Cumberland, Oxford and Androscoggin Counties combine for 97.01% of an ideal Maine congressional district population, and you could add a majority of either Sagadahoc or Franklin counties to get the district to the appropriate population.  Franklin County would be easier to do without splitting county subdivisions (cities, towns or grouped unorganized territories such as "East Central Franklin UT") there are a lot more small (population-wise) county subdivisions there than in Sagadahoc County.

A good plan for a more Republican ME-02 would be to have ME-01 consist of York, Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties, Androscoggin County except for Turner, Minot, Mechanic Falls, Poland, Wales, Sabattus and maybe Lisbon (which would have been a Democratic stronghold 20 years ago but is trending heavily Republican) and Durham, the town of Jay in Franklin County, and portions of Kennebec County going up the Kennebec River including Gardiner, Hallowell, Augusta and Waterville.  You might have to add some more territory into ME-01, and the district's portion of Kennebec County could be fleshed to include marginal towns like West Gardiner, Manchester, Readfield and Winthrop, perhaps pairing off Republican-leaning towns of Chelsea and Sidney along the river.  Both districts would look very ugly, though.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 11:47:44 am by Kevinstat »Logged
jimrtex
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2011, 08:45:43 am »

Maine (nor Congress for that matter) may not add qualifications for Representatives.  The requirement is to live in the State on election day.

I didn't know that, thanks.  I was wrong when I said that Maine law required candidates for Representative to Congress to live in the district they're running in.  
It's not totally obvious that the Constitution has such a restriction.  Some of the precedent setting cases had other circumstances involved.  It's kind of like Gore v Bush.  It was decided on a political basis, but it gets cited now in other legal cases.

In the first congresses, States used different systems of electing representatives.  Georgia required representatives to live in districts, but elected at large.  Massachusetts had a weird system in 1792.  It elected one representative at large, and then 4 representatives from District One (Essex, Middlesex, and and Suffolk), with 1, district-wide and 1 from each county (Norfolk was not set off from Suffolk until later); 4 from District 2, again with one districtwide, and one each from Berkshire, Hampshire, and Worcester counties (the Connecticut Valley was all in Hampshire).  Two representatives were elected from District 3, but none districtwide, so they were elected from 2 subdistricts, Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket; and one from Bristol and Plymouth; and 3 were from District 4, which was Maine, including one from York, one from Cumberland, and one from Lincoln, Hancock, and Washington.  I assume the counties went northward forever, but there might not have been deep inland settlement.

If Congress had dictated election by district from the start, they might have required district residency, and no one would have argued that was not just a manner regulation (eg voters of district vote for one of themselves as representative).  If the Supreme Court ever had a case, they would look at how Congress had interpreted the Constitution.  But they didn't get around to requiring district elections until 1872, and this wasn't fully enforced until the 1960s.

I think the precedent with regard to district residency came from Maryland, where there was a requirement that one representative come from Baltimore city, and one from Baltimore county, with both elected from the whole area.  The principle was probably that a representative should come from the area where those voting for him lived.  But it has come to be interpreted as merely requiring residency in the State (Congress made the initial decision, and the courts have since applied it).

Residency is only required on the day of election.  The precedent for the current interpretation was Philip Barton Key who lived outside Georgetown in the District of Columbia (at the time DC had three cities: Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria).  A few weeks before the election he moved to a new estate he was building in Montgomery County.  He had family ties in the area, and owned land and practiced law solely in Maryland.  But it is unclear how much he actually lived in Maryland, since his main residence was near Georgetown.

When his election was contested, he made a speech that the case wasn't about residency at all.  As a young man, he had enlisted in the British Army during the Revolution, had been captured in Florida, and paroled to England (instead of keeping POWs, captured combatants would be released on condition that they not participate in further combat).  He returned to the USA and became a lawyer, mayor of Annapolis, and a federal judge.   He was elected to Congress in 1806, and wasn't challenged for about a year.  It was at a time when the status of D.C. was still somewhat ambiguous, and he had deep connections to Maryland.  But it may have been a political decision to say that he could keep his seat.

The modern interpretation by the courts is that you only have to be an inhabitant of a state on election day.  This was applied to Tom Delay in 1996.  In Texas, a party candidate who withdraws after nomination can not be replaced, unless the party finds that he is ineligible.  In the past, legislative candidates have moved out of their district, so that they can be found ineligible.  Legislators not only have to reside in their district, they have had to reside in their election for a year before the election, and continue to reside in their district while serving.  So a nominee moves to a different district, is replaced, and then returns to his former residence.  In 1996, Delay moved to Virginia, got a drivers license, fishing license, and registered to vote.  The Republican party declared him ineligible, and replaced him. The court decided that it was impossible for anyone, including Delay himself, to know where he might be residing on election day, and so could not be replaced.

There have been other cases where it has been ruled that a candidate from another state could be issued nomination papers.  So I am eligible to run for either House or Senate seat in Maine, and at most, Maine might demand that I intend to live there on election day.  If elected, I could continue to serve even if I moved back to Texas.

Both districts would look very ugly, though.
Because Maine has had 2 districts for 50 years, with minor changes as the boundary has slowly moved south and west, I suspect that any sort of radical change would be considered unfair.
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2011, 11:44:41 am »

Yeah, I never really understood why Maine waits the extra two years to redistrict.

They have an abnormally early filing deadline or something.
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2011, 12:01:28 pm »

Yeah, I never really understood why Maine waits the extra two years to redistrict.

They have an abnormally early filing deadline or something.

It's later than some other states that are redistricting this year (like Illinois, where filing will be in November).
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2011, 05:41:50 pm »

Yeah, I never really understood why Maine waits the extra two years to redistrict.

They have an abnormally early filing deadline or something.

It's later than some other states that are redistricting this year (like Illinois, where filing will be in November).

Yeah, a lot of people assume that it's either because of early filing deadlines (Maine's is the first business day on or after March 15 for primary election candidates and the first business day on or after June 1 for non-party candidates or for candidates for positions on the state/federal ballot that don't have primaries or party designations listed like county charter commission or the finance/budget committee in a couple counties with charters providing for elections to that committee) and/or because our odd year sessions are so short.

Well, the reason they don't do it in time for 2012 is that with their strange (and short) sessions and very early primary filing deadlines, they don't really have time do it in time for 2012.

My reply:

The Statutory adjournment date of the odd-year regular session of the Maine Legislature is now the third Wednesday in June.  How much later than that do odd-year regular sessions adjourn in most states?
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2011, 06:19:49 pm »

My understanding is that Maine's late re-districting is more a tradition, and that if anyone wanted to challenge it in court they would win.  Any challenge would be based on equal protection grounds, which would override anything in the State constitution or law.

It's a tradition that only began in the 1970s for the State House - after the bulk of the earth-shattering "Apportionment Decisions" had been handed down - and in the 1980s for the State Senate.

The delay in Legislative redistricting was established in the Maine Constitution in a constitutional amendment adopted in 1980.  Maine didn't redraw its congressional districts (or at least didn't draw them any differently) from 1961 to 1983, although voters in the town of Otisfield started voting for second district candidates in 1978 when it was moving from Cumberland County to Oxford County (it officially changed counties between the primary and general elections, if I recall correctly from some e-mail correspondence I had with an Otisfield geneology buff over a decade ago - it's on Dave Leip's webblog somewhere).
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2011, 06:20:40 pm »

A personal message string with a Republican cyberfriend of mine from December 2008 that ought to provide a clearer idea of why Maine has redistricted after the "2" year elections for as long as it has for its various types of districts (see the previous post):

Quote from: Republican cyberfriend
[(Then) Secretary of State Matt] Dunlap [(D)] told me that he and [(from 2006 to 2010) House Minority (Republican) Leader Josh] Tardy were going to put in a bill after the last redistricting [(in which they were State Representatives on the Apportionment Commission)] and simply never got around to it.

The current maps give neither party a significant advantage so it is a good time to attempt to make a change. There is no good reason for Maine to be two years behind the rest of the country.

Do you know why Maine does it late?

Quote from: Me
I can't say definitively why (although the amendment providing for apportionment of the Legislature in 1983 and every 10th year thereafter was adopted in 1980), but possible reasons include:

Maine's House redistricting failing to be done before the 1972 elections, due (from what I remember reading) partly to the original commission being created taking their sweet time. Governor Curtis vetoed of a Republican-supported redistricting bill with huge (at least in the post Reynolds v. Sims world) population inequality, but I don't think that plan was passed until 1973. Bath would have had two Representatives and Kittery only one despite Kittery having more people than Bath. That was actually due though to the langauge of Maine's Constitution at the time, which still provided for apportionment of House seats among counties (although with a fairer formula than the pre-Reynolds one, each county getting its integer "quota" of seats with the remaining seats going to the counties with the largest fractional excesses as opposed to the smallest counties previously) and didn't allow municipalities to be split (although the old cap of seven seats per municipality had been removed, and Portland was actually slightly overrepresented in the early 70s with 11 seats instead of 10). Sagadahoc County might have just qualified for a forth House seat, and Bath might have just qualified for two House seats given that the county had four, while the opposite might have been true in the case of York County's number of House seats and the number of those seats that went to Kittery under the intra-county apportionment formula). The Maine Supreme Judicial Court drew new lines in 1973, largely following the "rational approach to reapportionment" (throwing out the county apportionment plan and allowing municipalites to be split but keeping multi-member districts in most of the municipalities that would have had them under the old formula, some with part of the municipality taken out and placed in a neighboring single-member district and some with territory from a neighboring municipality added) of the 1973 House Apportionment Commission. The multi-member districts were divided into single-member districts effective for the 1978 election, as part of a constitutional amendment adopted at the same time as the Executive Council was abolished. The Democrats had hated the Council from the years of Republican dominance and the Republicans had come to hate the multi-member districts for obvious reasons - they probably dominated most of those until the "Muskie revolution" (they won all the seats in Portland in 1954 when Muskie was first elected Governor) but by the 1964 elections the Democrats were stronger overall in the larger municipalities in House races. The Republicans only gained one net seat in 1978 from districts that had been part of multi-member districts in 1978 (and that seat could be explained by their increasing their majority of seats in Bangor from 3-2 to 4-1; they know me at the Maine Law and Legislative Reference Library) while gaining 10 seats overall according to this page on the Maine House web site.

Maine's filing period, session length, and when the census numbers come in (which could have been later in the 1970s which was what the Legislature in 1980 would have had to go on, and the Apportionment Commission created in the same 1980 amendment providing for the "3" year Legislative redistricting.

I could probably think of some other reasons, but I need to take a break. Legislative inertia is probably the main reason this hasn't been changed. You might be interested in looking at the text of two Constitutional amendment resolutions to reduce the size of the Legislature that would have delayed redistricting following future censuses by an additional four years, although you'll probably agree with me that that was probably due to sloppy drafting rather than the Legislator's intent:

2007's LD 917
2007's LD 1552
(In both LDs check the parts amending Art. IV, Pt. First, 2 and Art. IV, Pt. Second, 1.)

Quote from: Me
I know I went overboard on my answer to your question on why Maine redistricts late, but I just made a possibly significant connection I hadn't made before. Legislators from the newly drawn single member districts in the larger municipalities in the 1979-1980 term may not have wanted their districts to be redrawn only four years after the last time they were drawn, and they could have argued that not having two Apportionment Commissions appointed only four years apart. They could have also used arguments of the difficulty in redistricting in the "1" year with an Apportionment Commission and Maine's filing period (although that could have been different back then; didn't George Mitchell announce his retirement in April 1994, after March 15 which is currently the filing deadline?) as further justification for the delay even if that wasn't the real reason for supporting a "3" year apportionment.

Quote from: Republican cyberfriend
I think your explanation of the multiple changes in the 1970's makes sense.

Mitchell announced his retirement in early March. In 1994, the filing deadline was April 1st.
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« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2011, 06:38:39 pm »

Some more correspondence in January 2009 that starts and ends on the topic of trying to correct Maine's delayed redistricting, near the end contains rejoinder to my earlier explanation of possible causes for the delay, and in the middle goes to another topic but one that I'll hope people will find interesting:

Quote from: Republican cyberfriend
I spoke with the President of the League of Women Voters. They will need to talk about the bill at the board level but will likely support it. The same is true of Common Cause. (I work with both groups on Clean Elections issues so we get along well despite our political differences.)

I was repeating to the President of the League your summary of the history and she asked me a question I could not answer: why did Maine eliminate multi-member districts?

Quote from: Me
I can't say definitively, but possible reasons include:

It was part of a package deal with the abolition of the Executive Council, which I've gathered the Democrats really didn't like from the days of Republican rule in the Legislature from 1917 until 1975 except from 1965 to 1967 (the newly elected Legislature didn't convene until the next year until sometime in the 80s), and I think they had ruled both chambers for a while before the 1910 elections (the House website's historical political makeup page starts then which makes it look like the Republican dominance in the Legislature didn't begin until the 1916 elections). The Republicans had come to dislike multi-member districts as in Portland, at least, they weren't winning any seats there (I'm not sure if Republicans had any seats in Portland from the 1964 election (going into that election Portland's House delegation was only 4-3 Democratic) until the 1978 election when the multi-member districts were divided, but I doubt it based on some news clippings I've read talking about a decade and a half Democratic dominance at the time the multi-member districts were being divided); they won one single-member House district in Portland in 1978 and 1980, but by the convening of the Legislature after the 1982 election Portland's delegation was all-Democratic again). The Republican members of the House Apportionment Commission in 1973 had issued a "Statement of Reservations" stating their opposition to multi-member districts, but the Maine Supreme Judicial Court judged that all towns that would have had multi-member districts under the state constitutional formula (except apparently Bath, which was smaller than some municipalities that would only have had one seat and apparently as House seats were to be apportioned among the counties even after a post-Baker state constitutional amendment, and those districts would return the same number of members as per the state's constitution except that they could have one more if they had more than half a district in excess of that number of ideal House district populations. Excess population from that municipality could go into neighboring single-member district (as with Lewiston and Brunswick), or population could be gained from another municipality (as with Auburn (part of Minot) and Waterville (the remainder of Winslow)) if necessary to have the districts meet the equal population standard.

The fact that the language of Maine's Constitution wasn't yet compatible with the one person, one vote standard (as strict as it clearly was by the 70s) might have also been a factor, as the constitution ought to have been amended anyway to avoid future legal disputes (I think the Republicans had hoped the Maine Supreme Court would [throw out (I had written "throughout", silly me] Maine's multi-member districts with the apportionment of House seats among counties (that, I believe, is how Bath would have had two representatives under the formula and Kittery only one despite Kittery's 1970 census population being greater than Bath's) and the ban against municipalities being divided between districts, which were thrown out) and future lines plans being drawn based on the line-drawers' best interpretation of the latest federal and state court precedent.

Finally, Democrats won a 91-59-1 majority in 1974 (the constitutional amendment splitting them up was sent out to the people and adopted in 1975, although it kept the multi-member districts in use for the 1976 elections) and may have felt secure enough to agree to single-member districts, especially as their advantage in the cities may have seemed to be increasing to the point that they would win most of the seats in them even with single-member districts. Indeed, I made a chart of the partisan ballance in each the 1974-78 (1975-79 in terms of representation) multi-member districts and their successor single-member districts which lated until the statewide 1983 redistricting and the 1984 elections, and the Republicans gained a net 1 seat in the 1978 elections in those districts while according to the House web sites historical political makeup page the Republicans gained 10 seats overall in that election (and the Democrats lost 11, although the Independent might have been elected as a Democrat or a Republican like Guy Scarpino (R > I) in the 1987-88 Legislature (to show how far back at least mid-session party changes are reflected)).

I have to wrap this up now, although I will tell you something I just noticed. The 1980 Maine constitutional amendment which I thought added the "3" year 10-year apportionment cycle for both houses which wasn't there earlier (the late House redistricting arising from legislative inaction) is listed in the Law and Legislative Reference Library's page on Votes on Constitutional Amendments, 1911- as "Bring into conformance the year in which the House and Senate shall be apportioned." So my earlier idea that the late House redistricting in the 70s was a factor may be correct.

Has Kevin Raye [(then Senate Minority Leader and lead Senate co-sponsor of the 2009 constitutional resolution to move legislative redistricting ahead two years)] gotten in touch with Pat Jones [(my State Representative and the sponsor of the bill)] yet? I e-mailed her on Sunday urging her to put in a companion bill to cover Congressional and County Commissioner districts, but she hasn't gotten back to me. The text of the constitutional amendment resolution to have Legislative redistricting in before the "2" year elections hasn't been added online yet, but interestingly a constitutional amendment resolution sponsored by Representative Pat Flood to reduce the size of the Legislature to 27-31 Senators (even I don't think the size of the Senate needs to get any smaller, although I wouldn't mind a 33-99 setup with my beloved nested districts Cheesy ) and 115 Representatives would have redistricting be in 2011 and every 10th year thereafter, although there were no changes in the timeing of redistricting within that year to accomodate for the fact that I don't believe the necessary census data will arrive until March 2011.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2011, 09:02:15 pm »

The scheme of not splitting towns is not necessarily in violation of SCOTUS OMOV rulings.  Given Maine's system of local election administration it is conceivable that apportionment by county, and the sub-apportionment by town is legitimate.
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« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2011, 05:15:05 pm »

The scheme of not splitting towns is not necessarily in violation of SCOTUS OMOV rulings.  Given Maine's system of local election administration it is conceivable that apportionment by county, and the sub-apportionment by town is legitimate.

Following the then-language of the Maine constitution (which had already been amended to repeal the 7-member limit and the apportionment of partial seats to the smaller counties) in the redistricting following the 1970 census would have given Kittery 1 Representative (over 50% greater than the ideal district population) and Bath, which by that time was smaller than Kittery, 2 Representatives (and the population of Bath divided by 2 was I think forty-something percent smaller than the ideal district population).  The Maine Supreme Judicial Court didn't see fit to do that when the Legislature and Governor couldn't enact a plan by the deadline.  The Republicans, who controlled the Legislature, had proposed a plan that followed the Maine Constitution, but if they passed it Democratic Governor Ken Curtis vetoed it.

There were two committees tackling Maine State House redistricting following the 1970 census, one of them I think in 1971 and the other I think in 1973.  The first commission had a Republican majority, and proposed the plan I mentioned above.  In a minority report (I've borrowed both commissions' reports from the Maine Law and Legislative Reference Library before, but it's been a while), the Democrats called the attempt to follow the Maine Constitution "an academic excercise" or something like that.  They said that for that reason, they mostly went along with the Republican plan, although the plan doesn't indicate what districts were not unanimously agreed to), and that therefore the plan significantly benefited the Republicans, but fortunately the plan would never go into effect because of its presumed violation of U.S. Supreme Court opinions.

The second commission, though Republicans still controlled the Legislature at this point (although Democrat Ken Curtis was still the Governor), had an even number of Republican and Democratic members with a presumed neutral chairman.  That commission, in a lengthly "preface" (the part before the actual plan) to their report, outlined "A rational approach to reapportionment" (or it may have just been 'apportionment') that melded the Maine constitution to comply with OMOV.  Portions of several cities were placed in single-member districts with surrounding territory with the remainder of the city being a multi-member district.  Auburn and Waterville were apparently closer to an even 4 quotas than an even 3 so parts of Minot and Winslow (the latter of which had a whole single member district of its own), respectively, were added to those towns to form 4-member districts.  They did the same for Bath, creating a 2-member district consisting of Bath, West Bath and part of Brunswick, the remainder of Brunswick being a 2-member district itself).  The boundaries of counties within a certain percentage of an integer number of "quotas" were not crossed, while otherwise pairs of trios of counties were grouped together and the external boundaries of those groupings were not crossed.  The only counties with more than one "partial" district were Franklin and Oxford counties, which had three districts partly in each county, and Somerset County, which was grouped with Piscataquis and Kennebec counties which don't come near each other and had a partial district with each of those counties.  The other three-county grouping was Lincoln-Knox-Waldo which had the remainders of each county in one district.

The Maine Supreme Court largely followed the commission's plan.  A couple of changes I've noticed were that the 2-member district including Bath was divided with Bath having a whole single-member district and part of another (perhaps because Bath had less than 1.5 quotas, although they would have had a two member district under the Maine Constitution the way the numbers crunched, or perhaps it was so the remainder of Brunswick would be in a single-member district), and the town of Isle au Haut in Knox County was placed in a district otherwise entirely in Hancock County (I'm pretty sure the commission's plan hadn't done that).

For more information, see pages 138-144 according to my Adobe Acrobat Reader (pages 141-147 according to the numbers on the pages) of this article (PDF) I discoved from Ballotpedia's article on redistricting in Maine.  In at least one instance, the article states that the Republican House and Senate couldn't agree on a plan when I know from another article that goes into detail that in fact they had passed a plan but the Democratic Governor vetoed it after taking perhaps intentionally dragging his feat and appointing a commission to study the Senate redistricting (and the Democrats had over a third of the members in both chambers and the veto was sustained, although by that time the Maine Supreme Court was already well into making its own apportionment).  Also, the "sliding scale" formula of Senators per county wasn't part of the Maine Constitution until 1931 and the apportioning of extra Representatives after remainders were tossed out to the smaller counties wasn't in there until the 1950s.  Before then the respective chambers were supposed to theoretically be apportioned among the counties based on population, but that had not been fully followed in the 1920s.   In a couple of instances a smaller county had one more Senator or Representative than a larger county (I'm not kidding).  But it still seems like the best source available on line on Maine redistricting in the 1960s and 1970s.
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« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2011, 01:58:14 am »

The salient point to note is that Democrats are yelling "bloody murder" at the prospect of legislative elections being held in 2011 under the old map, but, are defending the right of  Maine to hold an election under the old maps in 2012! In Mississippi, if there is a wait until 2012, the Republican may control the entire process then, while in Maine, the Republicans do control the process now, but, might not in 2012.

It is just another example of results-driven rank partisan hypocrisy.
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Dan the Roman
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2011, 12:06:00 am »

The salient point to note is that Democrats are yelling "bloody murder" at the prospect of legislative elections being held in 2011 under the old map, but, are defending the right of  Maine to hold an election under the old maps in 2012! In Mississippi, if there is a wait until 2012, the Republican may control the entire process then, while in Maine, the Republicans do control the process now, but, might not in 2012.

It is just another example of results-driven rank partisan hypocrisy.

The Maine issue is not a partisan one. Not least because it takes a 2/3rds majority to forward a map anyway. The Republicans don't have numbers to do anything even if they wanted to. Whether or not the maps are redrawn this year or next year, it will be a compromise.

There is in fact a good reason for the Senate GOP to punk things to 2013 though. The best case option for the GOP, which has nearly zero chance of holding the House under any map in 2012, is to do a deal to give the Democrats free-range with the congressional and house maps in exchange for drawing the senate. They might be able to wing enough Democrats for such a deal, but the sticking point would be the currently GOP house voting for their own elimination. If the House were to narrowly flip though while the GOP were to hold the Senate, a deal becomes more practicable.
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« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2011, 02:02:16 pm »

The Maine issue is not a partisan one. Not least because it takes a 2/3rds majority to forward a map anyway. The Republicans don't have numbers to do anything even if they wanted to. Whether or not the maps are redrawn this year or next year, it will be a compromise.

If the three-judge panel (or a Maine court, if the panel refers the case to them to fashion the form of relief to the plaintiffs after ruling that the current delay violates the plaintiffs' rights to equal representation) holds that the statutory 2/3 requirement for congressional redistricting only covered redistricting in years ending in 3, and that there are no valid Maine law pertaining to congressional redistricting in 2011 and thus the redrawing can be done by the Legislature as provided for in the Maine Constitution for "normal" legislation (a simple majority vote in each chamber and the Governor's signature, with the possibility of overriding the Governor's veto with a 2/3 vote in each chamber), then the Democrats couldn't stop the Republicans from doing whatever they want.  That is, unless the Democrats collected signatures for a people's veto that is provided for in Maine's Constitution for non-emergency legislation (and anything passed without a 2/3 vote in each chamber could not have an emergency preamlbe), but if a June 2011 congressional redistricting plan that the Legislature had been mandeted to do by the courts law was suspended by a people's veto a court might rule that the suspended plan be used in 2012 even if the people's veto passed to ensure relief for the plaintiffs before the preparation for the 2012 primary and general elections has progressed far enough to make granting that relief after the people's veto election results (and the vote on the people's veto couldn't be held before November of this year) difficult.

That's an absolute worst-case scenaro for the Democrats, and there might still be a rationale for a people's veto if the new law canceled the scheduled 2013 congressional redistricting that the Democrats could force to go to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (which could adopt a new plan even if a plan had been adopted in 2011 based on the 2010 census, and a magority of justices on that court right now are Baldacci appointees) if they had a majority in the House by then (if Republicans still had a "trifecta", the 2/3 requirement could be "notwithstood", subject of course to a people's veto - if the 2013 congressional redistricting was repealed this year, than Republicans could block any attempt to undo a Republican gerrymander unless and until the Democrats (or non-Republicans) gained either a "trifecta" (which they couldn't get until January 2015 assuming LePage serves out his term) or a 2/3 majority in both houses of the Legislature.  A court would be incorrect to nullify the statutory provisions for congressional redistricting in 2013 (as opposed to nullifying any interpreted restriction against redistricting in 2011 or ruling that the 2/3 rule doesn't apply to 2011), but a very shortsighted court could perhaps completely nullify Maine's congressional redistricting provisions.

So there is a possibility that a non-compromise congressional redistricting map could be drawn (even if the courts construed the 2/3 requirement for a "3" year congressonal redistricting to apply to a court-mandated "1" year redistricting, that law could be "nothwithstood" by the ace adopting a new plan), but there would be both public reations and future retaliation risks to that stategy for Maine Republicans.   The 2/3 requirement for legislative redistricting is in the Maine Constitution, and a court-drawn plan in 2013 would seem be more likely to help Democrats than Republicans, particularly if they still held more seats in either or both chambers with a bunch of second term Legislators who were starting to entrench themselves in their districts and wouldn't be termed out until 2018.  As I have written earlier, I think there is some desire among Republicans to put the 2/3 requirement for congressional redistricting in the Maine Constitution where is is for legislative redistricting, and they wouldn't advocate that any time soon while or just after they had rammed through a congressional district plan without signficant bipartisan support that they were proposing to leave unchanged until 2021.
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« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2011, 02:37:52 pm »

On the Desena et al v. State of Maine et al front, the three-judge panel divided the case into a "liability" phase and a "remedy" phase, and drafted a Schduling Order on April 28 for the "liability" phase.  The three parties (the Plaintiffs, (State) Defendants, and Intervenor Defendant (the Maine Democratic Party)) all submitted their opening briefs on Friday, May 20, the day of the deadline for those briefs.  Reply briefs may be submitted on or before this coming Tuesday, May 31 at noon.  (No reply briefs had been submitted when I checked on PACER last night.)  Oral argument is scheduled for Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.

You can view the Scribd downloads of the Plaintiffs', State Defendents' and Maine Democrats' opening briefs and the Joint Stipulated facts the three parties agreed to, all of which are linked to from a blog entry on the briefs at Dirigo Blue.  (Included with the Plantiffs' opening brief are the two Exhibits they attached; the State Defendents attached to their opening brief the Joint Stipulated facts and, either as an attachment to their opening brief or to the Joint Stipulated Facts, a copy of this map of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court's final congressional district plan in 2003 (the one currently in use).)

As the editor of Dirigo Blue noted in his blog entry, Attorney General William Schneider (a Republican who was elected to his post by a secret joint ballot (although I know the Democrats used to collect the ballots their Legislators didn't cast from each Legislator so they would know if someone defected) of the new Republican Legislature) (joined in his brief by Deputy Attorney General Paul Stern), representing the State Defendants including the State of Maine itself, agreed with the plaintiffs that "this Court should conclude that given the differences in population between the two districts, which are shown by the 2010 census to be 0.652 percent from the ideal, Maine must engage in a good faith effort to reapportion those districts to achieve equliaty before the next Congressional election."  Schneider and Stern did oppose the nullification "in general" (my words) of the statute delaying Maine's congressional redistricting as theoretically the two districts, drawn to be substantially equal in population as of and according to one census, could be within an acceptable range of deviation as of and according to the following census, even perhaps closer than as of the census upon the results of which they were drawn.  But they argued that "as applied to the present situation, the timing provision in Maine's statute is unconstitutional" (emphasis theirs).
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