Legislature approves Maine redistricting maps

The redistricting accounts for the state’s growth of 34,000 residents in the last decade.
Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - With a two-thirds majority vote, the legislature approved the redistricting of Maine’s congressional, legislative, and county commission lines.

This after the Apportionment Commission met its deadline Monday to prevent turning things over to the court.

“Extremely happy that we reached the deadline and we were able to deal with it in a legislative context and not send any part of it to the court. I was pleased, while there was some elbows here and there, that we did our work, we worked collaboratively and we got the job done,” said Senator Rick Bennett of Oxford.

The redistricting accounts for the state’s growth of 34,000 residents in the last decade.

Roughly 23,000 voters needed to be moved from the First Congressional District to the second.

Augusta will now move into the Second District.

“In the past, Waterville has been the one they’ve moved in and out, so there’s certainly good reasoning on both sides of that,” said Representative Bruce White of Waterville.

Senator Rick Bennett was on the commission and says moving folks around is like pushing on a balloon.

“You have to make a district smaller here and the population has to go somewhere else contiguously,” Bennett said.

Some changes will come to senate districts within Hancock, Penobscot, and Piscataquis counties.

“In Maine, we require a two-thirds vote, which I think is good to prevent any party-line gerrymandering. My district, Hancock County has grown in county population, so we had to kind of reduce it in size, but it largely remains the same,” said Senator Louis Luchini of Ellsworth.

Bennett says there’s public benefit in the new districts that could result in improved legislators and government overall.

“Rather than protect incumbents, and protect party advantage, it’s good to have a lot of competitive districts where the politicians really need to earn the votes of the people that they want to represent and they can’t take their seats for granted,” Bennett said.

The day ended with Governor Mills giving her stamp of approval on the maps.

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