Evan Burger

Redistricting scenarios part 6: Possible districts, revisited

Evan Burger continues his series on redistricting with analysis of some of the reddest and bluest possible Congressional districts.

On August 12, the Census Bureau released the “PL 94-171 Redistricting Data File” – the official population counts of every precinct, city, county, and state in the country, as of April 1, 2020.

As I wrote last weekend, Iowa’s redistricting process can now start in earnest – and members of the public can get a clearer view of what districts are possible. For today, I’ll focus on the implications for Iowa’s Congressional maps. Future articles will contain similar analysis at the legislative level.

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Iowa redistricting predictions, part 5: Data almost here!

Evan Burger continues his series of posts on Iowa redistricting scenarios.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced some exciting news: they will release the next round of redistricting data this Thursday, August 12, four days earlier than promised. 

At long last, Iowa will have the population counts needed to start drawing new district lines – and just in time, considering that the Iowa Constitution requires the legislature to finish redistricting by September 15. 

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Iowa redistricting predictions, part 4: Story County

Evan Burger previously wrote about Iowa Congressional and state legislative redistricting scenarios. -promoted by Laura Belin

Today I’ll continue my ongoing series on redistricting with a deeper dive on Iowa legislative redistricting, using Story County as a case study. A few general updates to start:

First, the partisan battle lines over Iowa redistricting are starting to shape up. According to several press reports, including this recent Des Moines Register article, Republican leaders are floating the idea of suing the Census Bureau to get data earlier than September 30th:

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Iowa redistricting predictions, part 3: Legislative overview

Evan Burger speculates on how statutory requirements for drawing new Iowa House and Senate districts could impact partisan control of the legislature during the 2020s. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last month, I wrote about the rules governing Iowa’s Congressional redistricting process, and made some predictions. For this post, I’ll do the same for the legislative side of redistricting – but first, a quick mention of two related developments since my last piece. 

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Iowa Congressional redistricting scenarios: What we know

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.

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Four ways Iowa's redistricting could play out (updated)

Evan Burger ponders how an unprecedented federal government delay could affect Iowa’s next political map. -promoted by Laura Belin

This year’s redistricting will be be even messier than we thought.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced on January 27 the latest timeline for releasing various sets of results from last year’s census. They still do not have a hard deadline for when they will finish the granular data set that the Iowa Legislative Services Agency requires for new district maps. But Hansi Lo Wang of NPR reports that the Census Bureau is saying we “should not expect [that data] prior to July 30.”

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