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For Immediate Release

Date: 05/31/13

Maine Apportionment Commission Unanimously Approves House, County Maps

First redistricting process in decades to avoid court battle, conclude with bipartisan agreement

AUGUSTA - The Maine Apportionment Commission met Friday morning at 9:00 in Legislative Council Chambers and voted unanimously to approve new boundaries for the electoral districts that make up the Maine House of Representatives and each of Maine's county governments. The commission voted unanimously to approve a new map of Maine Senate districts last Friday, May 24. The bipartisan commission is formed every 10 years to negotiate new districts in order to conform with shifts to the state's population.

"It's been very educational to see the process unfold, and I'm pleased that we were able to reach a bipartisan solution without wrangling in court," said Rep. Amy Volk (R-Scarborough), one of three House Republicans to serve on the commission.

Apportionment negotiations culminated in court battles in 2003 and 1993, when the parties were unable to agree on new district maps.

"I'm very happy that we were able to work out a compromise map," said Rep. Matthew Pouliot (R-Augusta), who also served on the commission. "Redistricting is a process that should be handled by the people's representatives and not by the courts, if possible. I'm hopeful that the rest of the legislative session will be conducted in an equally productive and collaborative manner."

Commission member Rep. Wayne Parry (R-Arundel) agreed. "This proves that we can work together when we want to," he said. "It's good to see Democrats and Republicans come together." Parry also said that serving on the commission was an educational experience. "As someone who's lived in Maine my entire life, I enjoyed learning more about different parts of the state and how population shifts can really change things."

In addition to finding agreement between the parties, the reapportionment process must produce districts that meet constitutional criteria. For example, districts must vary no more than five percent in population size from one another, towns must not be divided between districts to the greatest extent feasible, and districts must be contiguous and regular in shape.

Many states are known for gerrymandered districts designed to maximize partisan electoral advantages, but Maine has a history of creating simple districts that make it easy for voters to know which district they're in and where to vote.

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David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793