After the 2020 census, each state redrew its congressional district lines (if it had more than one seat) and its state legislative districts. 538 closely tracked how redistricting played out across the country ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. So everything is done and dusted, right?
Not so fast, my friend. More than a half-dozen states face the prospect of having to go through the redistricting process again, mostly due to federal and/or state litigation over racial or partisan gerrymandering concerns. Both Democrats and Republicans have the opportunity to flip seats in districts drawn more favorably than they were last cycle. For example, Democrats appear poised to pick up at least one seat in Alabama and could theoretically get more favorable maps in Louisiana and Georgia. Republicans, meanwhile, could benefit from more favorable 2024 maps in North Carolina and New Mexico.
We’ll be using this page to relay major developments in midcycle redistricting, such as new court rulings and district maps, and examine how they could affect the political landscape as we move deeper into the 2024 election cycle. We’ll predominantly focus on congressional maps, but will share the occasional key update on conflicts over state legislative districts.
Some key states to watch:
Georgia Republicans propose a controversial congressional map
On Friday, Republican legislators in Georgia released their long-awaited proposal to redraw Georgia's congressional map after a court struck it down in October for violating the Voting Rights Act. But it's unlikely to satisfy advocates for more nonwhite (and Democratic) representation.
The proposed map creates a new majority-Black district, the 6th, in the western Atlanta suburbs, as ordered by the court. But it also dismantles the 7th District in the eastern Atlanta suburbs, turning it from a majority-minority seat into one that is 67 percent white. The partisan upshot is that Georgia would maintain its current split of nine Republican-leaning seats and five Democratic-leaning seats (because the 6th District would flip from red to blue but the 7th would flip from blue to red).
Democrats and voting-rights advocates are already arguing that the new map is still illegal because of what it did to the 7th District. Indeed, the judge who struck down Georgia's old map wrote in his ruling, "The state cannot remedy the [Voting Rights Act] Section 2 violations described herein by eliminating minority opportunity districts elsewhere in the plans." However, it's not clear if the old 7th District was protected by the Voting Rights Act. At 33 percent white, 30 percent Black and 21 percent Hispanic, it did not have a majority (or anything close) of a certain type of voter. It did have a combined Black and Hispanic majority, and courts have previously ruled that such coalition districts may be protected by the Voting Rights Act as long as both minority groups vote similarly (among other preconditions). However, it's not clear if more conservative courts (i.e., the U.S. Supreme Court) will agree in this case. Therefore, you can expect further legal battles over this map should it pass the Georgia legislature.
Florida’s congressional map reinstated — for now
On Friday, a Florida appeals court reversed a lower court’s ruling that North Florida’s congressional lines were unconstitutional, reinstating the strongly pro-Republican lines pushed through by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. That map eliminated a safely Democratic, predominantly Black district in North Florida despite the fact that the Florida Constitution prohibits diminishing the ability of Black voters to elect a candidate of their choice.
However, this is not going to be the last word on Florida’s map. The decision will almost certainly be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.
New Mexico will not get a new congressional map
The New Mexico Supreme Court has upheld New Mexico’s congressional map. On Monday, all five justices — all of whom are Democrats — signed an order affirming a lower court’s decision that, while New Mexico’s map is a Democratic gerrymander, it is not egregious enough to be illegal.
This wasn’t one of the major redistricting court cases that we were waiting on (looking at you, New York), but it’s still bad news for Republicans, who miss out on a chance for an easy flip in New Mexico’s 2nd District in 2024. Democrats drew New Mexico’s congressional map to make all three seats winnable for them, which took the 2nd District from a seat that voted for Trump by 12 percentage points in 2020 to one that would have voted for Biden by 6. As a result, Democrat Gabe Vasquez was able to narrowly defeat Republican Yvette Herrell here in 2022.
Georgia congressional map struck down
On Thursday, a federal judge struck down Georgia’s congressional map, saying that it violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the political power of Black voters. The state has until Dec. 8 to draw a new map that adds an additional Black-opportunity seat in west metro Atlanta — although the state will likely try to appeal the decision.
Georgia currently has nine Republican representatives and five Democratic representatives, but it’s possible that this decision (if it holds up) could lead to Democrats flipping one of those Republican-held seats. But it’s also possible that Republicans in the Georgia legislature will comply with the judge’s order while also dismantling the safely blue 7th District, the one Democratic district in Georgia that is not predominantly Black. In this case, the partisan composition of the state’s congressional delegation would stay the same.