Which states could get new congressional maps in 2024?

An updating tracker of developments in midcycle redistricting.

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.

The Supreme Court rules on South Carolina’s House map

On Thursday, seven months after it heard oral arguments, the Supreme Court finally ruled in Alexander v. the South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, which charged that South Carolina's 1st District was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. In a 6-3 decision along ideological lines, the court ruled that a lower court was wrong to strike down the 1st District, but it sent the case back to the lower court for further consideration.

The ruling does not have any immediate practical implications; back in March, the lower court decided that South Carolina would have to use the disputed map in this year's election anyway because the Supreme Court was taking so long to rule. And with the book still open on the case, it's still possible that the district will end up getting struck down again for 2026 and beyond.

However, in his majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito noted the difficulty of proving that race, not partisanship, was the driving factor behind a map when race and partisanship are so closely correlated. In so doing, he raised the standard for proving racial gerrymandering, saying that legislatures should get the benefit of the doubt when they say they were engaging in partisan gerrymandering (which is legal under federal law) instead.

Louisiana’s congressional map is so back

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court reinstated a version of Louisiana’s congressional map that contains two Black-majority, Democratic-leaning districts — at least for the 2024 election.

Last month, a lower court had struck down that map for relying too much on race. But the Supreme Court temporarily put that ruling on hold, saying it was too close to the election to change the map. Interestingly, the court’s six conservatives voted to reinstate the map, while the three liberals dissented, even though the map will almost certainly cause Republicans to lose a House seat. In a solo dissent, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson didn't argue against the outcome itself but wrote that she believed the court intervened too early.

Louisiana’s new congressional map struck down

A panel of three federal judges struck down Louisiana's new congressional lines on Tuesday, surprisingly throwing a last-minute twist into the 2024 congressional map.

Earlier this year, the Louisiana legislature redrew the state's congressional map to add a second Black-majority district after a court ruled that the old map violated the Voting Rights Act by not giving Black voters enough representation. This turned a solid-red seat, the 6th District, into a solid-blue seat, giving Democrats a near-guaranteed pickup this fall.

But the new 6th District was awkwardly shaped, stretching diagonally across the state from Shreveport to Baton Rouge, giving rise to complaints it was a racial gerrymander — essentially, that it was drawn based on race above all else. These three judges agreed, saying the district violated the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.

That doesn't necessarily mean Louisiana won't get a second Black-majority, safely Democratic district, though. It's easy to draw such a district that's more compact, going from Baton Rouge up the Mississippi River. It remains to be seen what the state will do next; the judicial panel will meet again on May 6 to discuss next steps.

South Carolina will use its old congressional map in 2024

Time's up, Supreme Court! That's what a panel of three federal judges declared on Thursday, as they decided that South Carolina must use the congressional map it used in 2022 in the 2024 election as well.

The panel had previously struck down South Carolina's 1st District as a racial gerrymander because it did not have enough Black voters, which had turned the one-time swing district into a more safely Republican seat. However, Republicans appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, which has been sitting on the case for months. The three-judge panel finally decided that it was too late to make any changes for 2024, given that Monday is the deadline for congressional candidates to file to run. As a result, Democrats will miss out on a chance to flip another district in their favor this year.

Where things stand in Alabama

Alabama is furthest along in terms of having a new congressional map for 2024. Back in 2021, the Republican-controlled legislature drew Alabama a congressional map that had six majority-white seats and one majority-Black seat — despite it being possible to draw a map with two majority-Black districts. Voting-rights advocates sued, and in January 2022, a federal court agreed that the map discriminated against Black voters and had to be redrawn.

Alabama appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in June 2023, the court handed down a landmark decision that upheld the Voting Rights Act and confirmed that Alabama had to redraw its map. In July, the legislature did so — but the new map still didn’t have a second majority-Black seat. The lower court quickly struck down that map too, and the Supreme Court rejected a Hail Mary appeal of that decision.

The lower court will now choose a new congressional map for Alabama, to be used in 2024. A court-appointed special master has drawn three possible options, all of which would create a second majority-Black seat. And because Black voters so consistently vote Democratic, in partisan terms, that means Democrats will almost certainly pick up a House seat in Alabama next year. In the three proposals, the new 2nd District would have voted for President Biden by anywhere from 10 to 13 percentage points.