RI leaders unveil draft redistricting maps following 2020 census

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Islanders got their first look Thursday evening at what the state’s new political boundaries could look like in the wake of last year’s census.

The draft redistricting maps can be viewed online at riredistricting.org. They were released ahead of a meeting of the Special Commission on Reapportionment where Kimball Brace, the state’s longtime redistricting consultant, was set to brief members on the two alternative plans for the R.I. House of Representatives and R.I. Senate.

Brace said data is still being analyzed on another subject of ongoing debate, whether prisoners at the ACI should be counted there for the purposes of determining the population size of districts around the ACI, or if they should be counted in their hometowns.

The state is required to redraw the boundaries of its two congressional districts and all 113 General Assembly seats every 10 years to reflect population shifts identified in the decennial census. (A draft of the new congressional map has not yet been released.)

Census data released earlier this year showed the Rhode Island population became more diverse and shifted northward over the last decade, suggesting the state’s urban core could gain greater influence in the General Assembly. Each district’s population is required to be roughly the same size.

The 18-member redistricting panel is supposed to make its final recommendation for the new maps by Jan. 15. The new district lines will be in effect for the 2022 primary and general elections.

The commission is scheduled to hold its next meeting Monday at Smithfield High School.

Massachusetts has already completed its own redistricting process.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

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