Evan Burger: Despite census delays, what we know about Iowa’s redistricting process allows us to say a surprising amount about how the new Congressional districts will look. -promoted by Laura Belin
Last month, I wrote that census delays might prevent the Iowa legislature from fulfilling their constitutional requirement to finish redistricting by September 1. Since then, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that they will not finish compiling the data necessary for redistricting until September 30, so the legislature is now guaranteed to miss their deadline.
All eyes are now on the Iowa Supreme Court. Will the justices exercise their authority to take over redistricting on September 15, or will they give the legislature more time to finish the standard redistricting process? So far, the judicial branch hasn’t said.
How the legislature will handle the delay is also not clear. Facing a similar situation, California legislators asked their state supreme court for an extension of the constitutional deadline, which the justices unanimously voted to grant. Legislative leaders in Iowa have not said whether they will take a similarly proactive approach. Iowa Capital Dispatch and Radio Iowa have quoted Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and House Speaker Pat Grassley as saying they are evaluating their options.
The census delays continue to add uncertainty into Iowa’s redistricting process. But we do know some things about redistricting – and that allows us to say a surprising amount about how the new districts will look.