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Between the Lines: Redistricting Halftime Show

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It’s believed that Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle’s upstate New York district is on the chopping block. But that may not be the case if the new map is drawn by a three-judge panel.

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But  if New York lawmakers cannot agree on a map, a federal three-judge panel redraws the Congressional boundaries. It’s then anyone’s guess which districts will get the ax.

4. What will the courts decide in Colorado, Minnesota and Nevada?

Colorado, Minnesota and Nevada are traditional battleground states — and all three are headed to court after their legislatures failed to pass new Congressional maps. There are 19 House seats between the three states.

There are at least three competitive House seats up for grabs among Colorado’s seven seats. Rocky Mountain State officials scheduled the redistricting trial for early October, and party officials hope to have a map in place by November.

A new court-drawn map will determine whether Minnesota’s several competitive districts stay that way. A court-sanctioned, special redistricting panel will begin hearings on the new map in October.

In Nevada, Democrats could pick up two seats, depending on the new Congressional boundaries. A federal court will appoint a panel of special masters to draw the Nevada map.

5. How aggressive will Florida Republicans be in light of the Fair Districts amendment?

Republicans boast huge majorities in the Florida House and Senate and hold the governor’s mansion. So the Florida GOP should be able to make huge gains through the mapmaking process in Florida, right?

Not so fast. A booming Hispanic population gave Florida two new House seats. GOP lawmakers will have to draw those Hispanic populations — which traditionally vote for Democrats — into coherent districts in order to adhere to the Voting Rights Act. 

What’s more, Florida voters approved a new Fair Districts amendment last year.

How Republicans interpret that amendment will have a great effect on the map. They could use it in their favor to pick up a couple of seats or just shore up the four seats they picked up last cycle.

Florida courts will likely determine if Republicans adhered to the new amendment. Both sides expect a litigious battle that will last through next summer.

South Carolina: New Map Becomes Law; New Seat Favors GOP

Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed a new Congressional map into law Monday, adding a 7th district to the northeast part of the state. Anchored in Republican Horry County, the new district favors the GOP, something Haley hinted at in her remarks.

“In this day and time, when we have a situation where we are dealing with the battles of Washington, we need as many conservative votes as we can get,” Haley said at a signing ceremony in Myrtle Beach for the redistricting law. “And guess what? We’re going to send one more to D.C. to help fight for us, and that’s a great thing.”

Roll Call rates the new district as Likely Republican.

Under the Voting Rights Act, the final lines are subject to approval from either the civil rights division of the Justice Department or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The state Democratic Party is likely to sue over the map.

Louisiana: New Map Clear, Landry-Boustany Is Set to Go

The Justice Department precleared Louisiana’s new Congressional map Monday. Under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the state is among those that must get approval for changes to district lines.

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