State Watch

Iowa legislature rejects first redistricting proposal

Greg Nash

The Iowa legislature on Tuesday rejected the state’s first redistricting proposal, punting the authority back to a nonpartisan agency to draw another map.

The state Senate voted 32 to 18 to block the maps, which would have created new congressional districts in the state based on data from the 2020 census, according to the Des Moines Register.

The rejection came after the Senate State Government Committee unanimously voted to send the maps to the full chamber for consideration without recommendation.

Generally speaking, Democrats were in favor of the proposed maps while Republicans were staunchly opposed. Republicans are the majority party in both chambers of the legislature, giving them the ability to block maps.

The proposed maps would have made the contentious 1st Congressional District a strong Democratic pocket, the 2nd District less geared toward Republicans and the 4th District a stronger Republican area, according to the Des Moines Register.

The 3rd District would have held its toss-up status.

If the maps were to have taken effect, more than 60 sitting state lawmakers would have been moved to districts that already have another incumbent, according to the Des Moines Register.

The Legislative Services Agency, a nonpartisan group, will now go back to the drawing board and create a new series of maps for the Iowa lawmakers to consider. The group reportedly has the next 35 days to establish a map, on which the legislature will again vote.

If lawmakers block the second set of maps, the agency will be tasked with drawing up a third set, according to the Register. That time, lawmakers will be allowed to propose amendments.

Time, however, is running out, as the legislature must approve maps by Dec. 1, a date that was set by the state Supreme Court after Iowa missed the initial Sept. 15 deadline because of a delay in the Census Bureau releasing the new data.

The Iowa legislature has only once in history considered a third set of maps, in 1981, according to the Register.

The rejection of maps in Iowa came after Oregon last month approved new maps, which dealt Democrats a large majority for future elections.

The redistricting gave Democrats a five to one majority.

Redistricting based on the 2020 census will be pivotal for the 2022 midterm elections, when Republicans are working to retake control of the House and Democrats are pushing to expand their majority. Both parties will also be vying to secure majority control of the Senate, which is currently in a 50-50 split.

The maps will also be important for the 2024 presidential election — especially in Iowa, which is the first state where voters will head to the polls in the race.

Tags census redistricting Iowa iowa redistricting Redistricting commission

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