On Thursday, August 12th, the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2020 data results needed for redistricting. With Oregon’s rising population, our state has received a 6th Congressional District. In addition to drawing a new map to incorporate this additional Congressional District, the Oregon State Legislative district maps will also be redrawn. The redistricting committee will have an equal number of Representatives from each party on the House Redistricting Committee and will be focused on the following statutory criteria per ORS188.010 to ensure a fair and honest process:
(1) Each district, as nearly as practicable, shall:
(a) Be contiguous;
(b) Be of equal population;
(c) Utilize existing geographic or political boundaries;
(d) Not divide communities of common interest; and
(e) Be connected by transportation links.
(2) No district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring any political party, incumbent legislator or other person.
(3) No district shall be drawn for the purpose of diluting the voting strength of any language or ethnic minority group.
(4) Two state House of Representative districts shall be wholly included within a single state senatorial district.
188.025 Secretary of State rules. The Secretary of State shall adopt rules the secretary considers necessary in carrying out the secretary’s reapportionment duties under ORS 188.010 to 188.295 and section 6, Article IV of the Oregon Constitution.
To learn more about redistricting or one of the public meetings nearest you, visit: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/redistricting
The United States Constitution requires a census every ten years to determine the number of people residing in each state. Once the population of each state has been determined, the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are redistributed based on population losses or gains in each state. This process is known as reapportionment.
Redistricting is the process of redrawing the district boundaries of state House, Senate, and Congressional districts. States take a variety of approaches to accomplish redistricting. Redistricting can be performed by the legislative, judicial, or executive branches, or by an independent commission. In Oregon, the state Constitution directs the Legislative Assembly to draw the district boundaries. Under ORS 188, the Legislative Assembly shall hold at least 10 public hearings at locations throughout the state prior to proposing a reapportionment plan. In addition to the hearings, the Legislative Assembly or the Secretary of State, whichever is applicable shall:
(a) Provide appropriate public notice of the time and location of each hearing;
(b) Hold at least one hearing in each congressional district of this state;
(c) Hold at least one hearing in areas that have experienced the largest shifts in population since the previous reapportionment, and prioritize holding additional public hearings in these areas
(d) Permit and make provision for individuals at remote sites throughout the state to provide public testimony at the hearings through the use of video equipment.
The times and locations for these hearings may be found on the infographic at the bottom of this page.
The Legislative Assembly holds the power to draw maps to create districts which contain roughly equal populations for each of the three types of districts. In 2011, the ideal population for Oregon’s districts were as follows: 60 House districts of 63,851; 30 Senate districts of 127,702; and 5 Congressional districts of 766,215. By law, the U.S. Census Bureau must send the numbers of seats allocated to each state in the House of Representatives by December 31st of years ending in zero (i.e., 2000, 2010, 2020, etc.) to the President. No later than April 1st of the following year, the U.S. Census Bureau must send population data to the states. In Oregon, the Legislative Assembly has until July 1st of the year following a census to pass redistricting legislation. As with many other things, the unprecedented time we currently live in, this deadline was extended due to the delay in the U.S. Census Bureau’s ability to obtain the needed data in time.
What’s important to know about the 2020 US Census
The census provides the basis for congressional apportionment, states’ votes in the Electoral College, and redistricting for congressional, legislative and local electoral districts. It also determines how much federal money gets distributed to the states and it shapes how businesses and policymakers make decisions.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant extensions and delays to the 2020 census operations. The self-response and field data collection operations for the 2020 Census ended on October 15, 2020. The apportionment data was delivered by April 30.
On April 26, 2021 the U.S. Census Bureau announced the apportionment results for the 2020 Census. We now know Oregon’s total population, and that Oregon will receive a 6th congressional district.
- Oregon Resident Population: 4,237,256
- Average Population per Congressional District: 706,209
- Average Population per Oregon Senate District: 141,242
- Average Population per Oregon House District: 70,621