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The Census: Apportionment & Redistricting - Ask the EAC 2.28.12

from: Jessica Myers on Feb 28, 2012

The Census and Apportionment

Every 10 years, Americans are asked to participate in the Census and one of the things this data is used for is drawing electoral district boundaries.  Before we discuss redistricting, it is important to understand apportionment.  Apportionment is the process of dividing the 435 seats in the House of Representatives among the 50 states.  This division is based on population figures. The results of apportionment lead to redistricting.

Apportionment and Redistricting

When the results of apportionment are finalized, each state must evaluate their voting districts based on the population shifts and with the goal of having each district have a relatively equal voting population. Each state handles redistricting for Federal elections in its own way, in some, the state legislature is responsible for creating a redistricting plan; in others, an independent commission creates a redistricting plan. Additionally, each state has requirements for developing a redistricting plan for state legislature districts.  Finally, Municipalities that utilize districts must also develop a redistricting plan.

Impact on Elections in 2012

There are several states that face changes to their election calendar due to legal challenges to proposed redistricting plans.  For more information on how this may impact you, please contact your state election office. The National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) also has resources on its website about redistricting.

If you have additional questions, please comment below, contact Jessica Myers at jmyers@eac.gov or via Twitter (@EACgov).

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2/28/2012 1:30:00 PM
The Census: Apportionment & Redistricting - Ask the EAC 2.28.12

Every 10 years, Americans are asked to participate in the Census and one of the things this data is used for is drawing electoral district...