Hours ahead of its September 27 deadline, the Apportionment Commission met for the final time and approved new district maps for the state Senate, as well as minor changes to the district maps for the state House of Representatives.
The commission had previously approved House maps on September 24, but decided to make several changes after receiving public feedback about the importance of keeping communities of interest together.
The commission voted to move Sullivan from District 18 to District 12 and Cherryfield from District 12 to District 18. They also voted to move Islesboro from District 39 to District 40 and Belmont from District 40 to District 39. The move puts Islesboro, an island community, in the same district as Lincolnville. The two towns are linked by ferry, which runs between LIncolnville to Islesboro.
The updated map of Districts 12 and 18 approved by the commission:
The updated map of Districts 39 and 40 approved by the commission:
The deal to move the towns was worked out between Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) and Rep. Kathleen Dillingham (R-Oxford) per Dave Emery, who represents the Republican caucus. The motion to approve the amended House maps was passed unanimously by all members present.
Sen. Nate Libby (D-Androscoggin), who was absent from the commission’s September 24 meeting, cast votes in favor of adopting the congressional district maps and Maine House of Representatives maps.
Following the vote to amend the House maps, the commission went into recess to continue working on a unified plan for new Senate districts.
After several delays, the body eventually reconvened at 1:45 p.m. to consider a plan on which both Democrats and Republicans had reached a compromise.
The vote to approve the Senate district maps was approved unanimously by all members of the commission present.
The Senate district plan was not circulated to the public until after the vote. During the meeting Bev Uhlenhake, a member of the public chosen by Democrats to serve on the commission, requested that the maps be displayed before the commission voted. Emery complied by sharing his computer screen over Zoom and scrolling across a map of Maine that contained the Senate districts to which both parties had agreed.
The Senate district map from 2010:
The new Senate districts approved by the Apportionment Commission can be viewed here.
The commission had until the end of the day on September 27 to submit its report to the legislature. The legislature will meet on September 29 to vote on new districts for the state Senate, House of Representatives, county commissioners, and federal congressional districts. The new districts must be passed by a two-thirds majority in both chambers.
Should the legislature fail to approve the new district maps, the matter will be settled by the judicial branch.
Photo: Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons