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Iowa's First Redistricting Map Voted Down

Tuesday, October 5, 2021
The Iowa Senate voted against the state's first redistricting map today on a 32-18 vote.  Every ten years, states redraw their Congressional and legislative districts to adjust for population changes.  This way, each elected official represents about the same number of people as others. Iowa's redistricting law does not allow legislators to consider political factors in their decision - they cannot consider political party registration, elected official home addresses, or minority makeup of a district.  The only requirements consider are compactness (making sure the districts are compact and aren't shaped oddly and try to keep counties and cities whole), population variance (each district is pretty close in population to another), and contingous (you cannot leap frog over a county - the entire district must be geographically connected).
Since the map must be approved by both chambers, the House did not bring it up for a vote.  Sen. Roby Smith (R-Bettendorf), who chairs the Senate State Government Committee, said the map did meet the intent of the law with a few concerning exceptions that he thinks could be fixed in a second map.  "There are clear indications that plan one can be improved by a second iteration addressing compactness and population deviation,” said Smith in his closing remarks.
The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency will now begin putting together the 2nd map.  They have 35 days to do so, but are likely to have it ready much sooner.  The Legislature must wait seven days to take action on the second plan.  The 35-day mark is November 9, 2021.  Like the first map, the Legislature cannot amend the second map and they also cannot return to the first map if they dislike the second one.  The maps are to be approved by December 1, 2021, so there isn't much time to push things to a third map, which is the only map that can be adjusted.  Unlike the first map, there are no public hearings on the second map.  Stay tuned to our social media - we'll post when Plan 2 is released.
In addition to redistricting, there were several hundred anti-mask, anti-vaccine mandate protesters at the Capitol to watch the special session; they were hoping lawmakers would also take up action to prohibit businesses from requiring masks and vaccines at work or school.   The issue was not brought up; lawmakers kept their promise to only address redistricting in the special session.  


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