How Do States Redistrict?
In the US, there are five main mechanisms for redrawing congressional district lines
1. State Legislature: 31 state legislatures have primary control over congressional redistricting in their state. In these states, district lines pass just like regular legislation, by a majority vote, and are subject to a veto by the Governor.
2. Advisory Commissions: Four of the above states - Iowa, New York, Utah, and Connecticut - also appoint an advisory commission to counsel the legislature on where congressional district lines should be drawn. While the legislature is not bound by the recommendations of the advisory commission, their advice tends to be influential since legislative leadership appoints them.
3. Backup Commission: Indiana, Ohio, and Connecticut have backup commissions if the legislature fails to come to a decision on district lines. If the legislature cannot come to an agreement, a special deadline in the states constitution will trigger the backup commission. Backup commissions vary by state and procedures.
4. Political Commission: Four states use political commissions to draw district lines. In some cases, elected officials have designated seats on the commission. In other instances, party leadership will nominate and appoint members to the body. Political commissions generally have an equal number of Republican and Democratic members.
5. Independent Commission: Arizona, California, Colorado, and Michigan draw congressional districts using independent commissions, with rules limiting direct participation by elected officials. Public officials and legislators are barred from serving on independent commissions. Some states even go as far as restricting legislative staff and lobbyists from serving on these bodies.