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Detailed Description of Maine's Apportionment Process
Maine State Senate and House of Representatives District Apportionment
The Maine Constitution, in Article IV, Part First and Part Second, provides for the reapportionment of State Representative and State Senate Districts, respectively, beginning in 1983 and every 10th year thereafter. The size of the districts is determined by dividing the number of Senators and Representatives into the number of inhabitants of the State, exclusive of foreigners not naturalized, according to the latest Federal Decennial Census, to determine a mean population figure for each Senate and Representative District.
Article IV, Part Third, section 1-A of the Constitution provides that the Legislature shall establish an Apportionment Commission within the first 3 calendar days after the convening of the Legislature in which apportionment is required. This Commission must develop, in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution, a plan for apportioning the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both. The apportionment plan of the Commission established under this section must be submitted to the Secretary of the Maine Senate (for the Senate apportionment) or the Clerk of the Maine House of Representatives (for the House apportionment) within 120 calendar days after the convening of the Legislature. The Legislature shall enact the submitted plan of the commission or a plan of its own by a vote of 2/3 of the Members of each House, within 30 calendar days after the plan of the Commission is submitted.
In the event that the Legislature fails to make an apportionment within 130 days after convening, the Supreme Judicial Court shall make the apportionment within 60 days following the period in which the Legislature is required to act but fails to do so.
U.S. Congressional District Apportionment
Title 21-A M.R.S.A., Maine Law on Elections, section 1206, provides for the apportionment of U.S. Congressional Districts. In 1993, and every 10 years thereafter, when the Secretary of State has received notification of the number of congressional seats to which the State is entitled and the Federal Decennial Census population count is final, the Legislative Apportionment Commission, as provided in Article IV, Part Third, section 1-A, shall review the existing congressional districts. If the districts do not conform to Supreme Judicial Court guidelines, the Commission shall reapportion the State into Congressional Districts.
The Commission shall submit its plan to the Clerk of the Maine House of Representatives no later than 120 calendar days after the convening of the Legislature in which apportionment is required. The Legislature shall enact the submitted plan of the Commission or a plan of its own in regular or special session by a vote of 2/3 of the members of each house within 30 calendar days after the plan is submitted to the Clerk of the House.
If the Legislature fails to make an apportionment within 120 calendar days of the convening of the session in which apportionment is required, the Supreme Judicial Court shall make the apportionment within 60 days following the period in which the Legislature is required to act but fails to do so.
Implementation of the New Districts
21-A, section 1207, requires the Secretary of State to implement
the election districts established by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court
or the Maine Legislature. The Secretary of State must inform the municipal
clerks of the voting district or districts in which each municipality
lies and provide district maps and narrative geographic descriptions
of relevant election districts to those officials. The Secretary of
State may resolve ambiguities concerning the location of election district
lines consistent with requirements of Chapter
15 of Title 21-A.