Redistricting in Massachusetts

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Note: Redistricting takes place every ten years after completion of the United States Census. The information here pertains to the 2010 redistricting process.

Redistricting in Massachusetts
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Redistricting on PolicypediaState legislative and congressional redistricting after the 2010 CensusState-by-state redistricting procedures
This page is about redistricting in Massachusetts, the once-a-decade process of redrawing state legislative and Congressional districts. The 2010 Census results dictated that Massachusetts lose one Congressional seat, after a decade of population growth below the national average.

On October 27, 2011, U.S. Rep. John Olver announced he would resign from Congress in 2012. The state legislative maps were released in late October 2011 and approved by committee on October 25, 2011.[1][2] U.S. Rep. Barney Frank announced that he would not seek re-election on November 29, 2011.[3]


In Massachusetts, the legislature has jurisdiction over state and Congressional redistricting.



Stanley Rosenberg (D) led the Senate redistricting efforts. Representative Michael Moran (Massachusetts) (D) oversaw House efforts.[4]

The 2011 special joint committee on redistricting had 7 senators and 21 representatives on the committee.

Senate Members:

Democratic Party Sen. Stanley Rosenberg Senate Chair
Democratic Party Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz Senate Vice chair
Democratic Party Sen. Barry Finegold
Democratic Party Sen. Karen Spilka
Democratic Party Sen. James Timilty
Democratic Party Sen. Daniel Wolf
Republican Party Sen. Bruce Tarr

House Members:
Democratic Party Rep. Michael Moran (Massachusetts) House Chair
Democratic Party Rep. Cheryl Rivera House Vice chair
Democratic Party Rep. Byron Rushing
Democratic Party Rep. Antonio Cabral
Democratic Party Rep. Joseph Wagner
Democratic Party Rep. Vincent Pedone
Democratic Party Rep. Stephen Kulik
Democratic Party Rep. Demetrius Atsalis
Democratic Party Rep. Garrett Bradley
Democratic Party Rep. Patricia Haddad
Democratic Party Rep. Anne Gobi
Democratic Party Rep. Alice Peisch
Democratic Party Rep. John Keenan
Democratic Party Rep. Linda Forry
Democratic Party Rep. Christopher Speranzo
Democratic Party Rep. Sean Garballey
Democratic Party Rep. Marcos Devers
Republican Party Rep. Bradley Jones, Jr.
Republican Party Rep. Bradford Hill
Republican Party Rep. Elizabeth Poirier
Republican Party Rep. Paul Frost

Redistricting Committee

On February 10, 2011 the Senate voted 32-4 to create a 28-member committee to be charged with redistricting. The committee would be made up of 28 legislators -- 23 Democrats and 5 Republicans. The bill then moved to the House for approval.[5]

On March 2, 2011, the House passed the legislation to establish the redistricting committee. The vote was 121-31.[6] The vote was along party lines, as all Republican members voted against the legislation.[7] Concurrently, House members defeated a Republican-sponsored amendment to establish an independent redistricting commission. "If you look at a map today, the congressional districts make no regional sense," said representative Paul Frost (R).[8]

In mid-March the official committee was named, consisting of 28 total members.[9] "Looking at the map, clearly they were gerrymandered to help specific legislators. The committee's goal is to rectify that situation," said Brad Hill (R), a member of the redistricting committee.[10]

First Committee Hearing

On March 16, the Joint Redistricting Committee held its first official meeting at the State House.[11] The schedule for public hearings and new website were unveiled.[12] Also at the meeting, the committee heard testimony from legal experts on redistricting laws.[13] "It’s no secret ... that those of us on the Republican side wanted to use a process other than the one that has been laid out. But the process that has been laid out today and going forward is different than the process that has been used in the past, and I would say different in a positive way," said Bradley Jones, Jr. (R), a member of the committee.[14]

Census results

The population in the Bay State increased 3.1 percent form 2000-2010, bringing the state's population to 6,547,629. The increase was below the national average of 9.7 percent.[15] Massachusetts lost one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, falling from 10 to 9 as a result of the census data.[16] Each new redrawn Congressional district needed to have approximately 727,514 constituents.[17]

U.S. House Representative John Tierney was confident that his district -- the 6th Congressional District -- would not be merged with another existing district.[18]

In February 2011, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank declared that he would not retire -- continuing speculation that two Congressional incumbents would be forced to be drawn into the same district.[19] However, Frank reversed his stance in November of that year, announcing his retirement late in the month.[20]

Census data pointed to the possibility that Western Massachusetts could have been the location that lost out when the legislature chose a district to remove from the Congressional delegation. U.S. House Representative John Olver's 1st District had population gains of only 1.65 percent in the past decade, the slowest of all 10 districts.[21]

At the end of July 2011, the redistricting committee received new precinct population data from the Secretary of State. There are 2,151 precincts with an average of 3,043 residents per precinct.[22]

City/County population changes

Massachusetts received its population counts on March 22, 2011. These tables show the change in population in the five largest cities and counties in Massachusetts from 2000-2010.[23]

Top Five most populous cities
City 2000 Population 2010 Population Percent Change
Boston 589,141 617,594 4.8%
Worcester 172,648 181,045 4.9%
Springfield 152,082 153,060 0.6%
Lowell 105,167 106,519 1.3%
Cambridge 101,355 105,162 3.8%
Top Five most populous counties
County 2000 Population 2010 Population Percent Change
Middlesex 1,465,396 1,503,085 2.6%
Worcester 750,963 798,552 6.3%
Essex 723,419 743,159 2.7%
Suffolk 689,807 722,023 4.7%
Norfolk 650,308 670,850 3.2%

Congressional maps

Prior to the announced U.S. representative retirements, the state was bracing for a potentially vicious redistricting process that would have pitted one incumbent Democratic representative against another (as no Republicans represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 112th Congress). "It’s an intensely political process, and I think it’s going to be quite personal. You can already see the jockeying that’s going on," said Marty Linsky, public policy professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in March 2011.[24]

The 10 elected Congressional officials in 2011 were:

  • District 1: John Olver
  • District 2: Richard Neal
  • District 3: Jim McGovern
  • District 4: Barney Frank
  • District 5: Niki Tsongas
  • District 6: John Tierney
  • District 7: Ed Markey
  • District 8: Michael Capuano
  • District 9: Stephen Lynch
  • District 10: William Keating

The 10 officials each staunchly defended the maintenance of their current district. Some early statements from the legislators:

  • Tsongas and Tierney expressed confidence they would retain their districts because of population growth in their respective counties.[25]
  • A regional coalition -- the Congressional Redistricting Working Group -- formed to fight for the preservation of the 6th Congressional district. The coalition includes the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development and two former State House reps.[26]
  • Congressman Tierney said Lynn -- a city in the 6th District -- serves an important role as a "gateway community" and would suffer if moved to a different district. The Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) also advocated for the preservation of Lynn in the 6th District.[27] A June 20 was held in Lynn to gather input from citizens. The LACC pushed residents to attend in large numbers, to outweigh the poor turnout evidenced in other meetings across the state. "Our goal is to make sure that Lynn stays in the Sixth District. Without Lynn, the Sixth District will fall apart because Lynn has the highest population north of Boston," said Ralph Sevinor, chairman of the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.[28]
  • Fair Districts Massachusetts -- a nonpartisan group of voters -- unveiled two proposed scenarios in May 2011. The first map would consolidate Western Massachusetts Congressmen Richard Neal and John Olver into one large district.[29] The other proposal would place four incumbents in two districts -- Michael Capuano and Barney Frank into one district; and Stephen Lynch and William Keating in the other.[30] According to Jack Robinson, the group's founder, the proposed maps would increase voter power and implement the first majority-minority district in state history.[31]
  • A meeting in Berkshire County on June 11, 2011 drew testimony from 35 residents -- the largest turnout to that point. The county is represented by John Olver. Residents urged the committee to keep two representatives in Western Massachusetts.[32]

Congressional Delegation Involvement

Figure 1: This map shows the Massachusetts Congressional Districts after the 2000 census.

All 10 Massachusetts U.S. House representatives in 2011 and 2012 were Democrats. With one seat lost after the census, there was considerable controversy over which two incumbents would be drawn into the same district. No incumbent hinted at retiring early in the process. Historically, when Massachusetts has lost a seat, one sitting incumbent opted to retire.[33]

Representative Michael Moran (Massachusetts) (D), chairman of the House redistricting committee, visited Washington D.C. in early February to discuss the redistricting plans with the current delegation.[34] While in the nation's capital, Moran planned a fundraiser which was subsequently canceled when objections were raised regarding the timing of the event.[35][36] Moran responded to criticism from the chairman of the Massachusetts state Republican party, arguing that the redistricting process has been one of the most "transparent and inclusive processes that has ever been done." "Rather than criticizing the process, I would encourage this Jenn Nassour, or whatever her name is, to take part in the process," Moran said.[37]

Additionally, Moran visited western Massachusetts to meet with Richard Neal and John Olver. State Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D), who traveled with Moran, said the trip allowed the committee to learn about "new communities of interest" since redistricting last took place.[38]

On June 29, 2011, U.S. House Representatives Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch each traveled to Boston to personally meet with the two power-brokers in redistricting -- State House Rep. Michael Moran (Massachusetts) (D) and State Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D), co-chairs of the redistricting committee.[39]

North Shore Task Force

Figure 1: This map was created by Nicholas Stephanopoulos for Draw Congress.[40]

Two former U.S. House representatives supported the 6th Congressional District in an effort to prevent it from being removed during redistricting. Michael Harrington (D) and Peter Torkildsen (R) both represented the North Shore in Washington D.C. They co-chaired a Congressional Redistricting Working Group that defended the area's representation and current breakdown. "What role will politics play? My answer — 100 percent," Harrington said. The district had a population of about 656,000. With an ideal district size of 727,000, the 6th Congressional District would need to absorb some surrounding communities.[41]

Western Massachusetts

U.S. Representatives John Olver and Richard Neal represented the more rural and geographically large regions of Western Massachusetts. Local officials stressed to the Joint Redistricting Committee that Olver and Neal were among the most influential legislators in Washington. During public forums, residents expressed fear that the elimination of one of the two Western districts would marginalize the importance of that part of the state. The two districts needed to pick up roughly 70,000 to 80,000 more residents to reach the ideal population.[42] "I ask you that you fight like hell to make sure that Western Massachusetts has two congressional districts," said Stephen Brewer, Democratic Senator from Barre. Neal had served in Congress for 23 years, while Olver for 20. Olver's district displayed the slowest growth of any Massachusetts district -- only 1.65 percent -- since 2000.[43]

Congressman James McGovern also testified to the Joint Redistricting Committee in favor of maintaining two Western districts. McGovern also vouched for keeping his district largely in tact, despite the geographic differences of some of his towns like Fall River and Worcester. "I would be lying if I said it would not be painful to lose any of the cities and towns I have represented for the last 14 years," McGovern said.[44]

Majority-Minority District

U.S. Senator Scott Brown supports the creation of a majority-minority district in Boston.

At the time, all 10 Massachusetts members of the U.S. House of Representatives were Caucasian. U.S. Senator Scott Brown on April 27, 2011 announced his support for the creation of a majority-minority district in Boston. Last decade's redistricting resulted in a court decision that the new maps had violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting minority voting power. "It is my hope that any redistricting for congressional or state legislative seats will result in districts that avoid diluting the voting strength of citizens based on the color of their skin," Brown wrote in a letter to State Senator Stanley Rosenberg and State Representative Michael Moran (Massachusetts), the Democratic leaders of the legislature's redistricting process.[45]

Brown's announcement was criticized by one political science professor as a partisan move to pack liberal voters in one district, in order to increase the chances that a Republican might get elected in another district.[46] Jack Robinson -- who lost in the Republican primary to Brown in 2009 -- also announced in March 2011 his support for the creation of a majority-minority district in Boston.[47].

Keating vs. Lynch speculation

In August 2011, State House Rep. and Redistricting Chair Michael Moran (Massachusetts) (D) hinted that it would be Lynch and Keating that would be paired off in one district. Lynch and Keating represent the 9th and 10th Congressional districts, respectively.[48] Moran said:

"I think the people who are talking that way are probably getting that from -- we have five Congressmen that sit in very powerful positions. We have a woman in Niki Tsongas; we have the Eighth Congressional District, which is the majority minority district. So if you take all those, and you consider those are the ones we have to keep, you’re left with Congressman Lynch, Congressman Keating and Congressman Tierney. And just by geography, Congressman Lynch and Congressman Keating seem to be the two that have to run against – if you use that as the principles. So that I think is where that is coming from."[49]

Olver announces retirement

On October 26, 2011, U.S. House representative John Olver announced that he would retire from Congress at the end of his term in 2012. His announcement ended months of speculation over which two incumbents would be mashed into one district.[50]

As a result, western Massachusetts residents expected there would be only one district for their geographic part of the state. "It would squash the voices of all of the smaller cities along the 1st Massachusetts’ corridor. Good God, Worcester? What connection does Pittsfield, Massachusetts have to Worcester?" said Pittsfield Mayor James M. Ruberto[51]

Map released

On November 7, 2011, state legislative leaders finally released the draft map for the nine U.S. House districts in Massachusetts. The new map put incumbent Stephen Lynch (D) and Bill Keating (D) into one district along the coast. However, Keating, who has a second home in Cape Cod, said he would move to that house in order to avoid a primary race with Lynch. That district was drawn with no current incumbent -- thus, setting the stage for all nine current incumbents to safely run for re-election in 2012. The new map also had the state's first majority-minority district, then represented by Michael Capuano (D).[52]

Republicans hoped to put up a formidable challenge to incumbent John Tierney (D) in a district that voted heavily for Scott Brown (R) in 2010. Former state senator Richard Tisei (R) announced he would challenge Tierney in 2012. Meanwhile, another former state senator, Andrea Nuciforo (D), said she would enter the Democratic primary against incumbent Richard Neal in western Massachusetts.[53]

On November 10, 2011, the map was passed out of committee and set for a final vote on November 15, 2011.[54] On November 15, 2011, the State Senate approved the Congressional map by a vote of 31-6. The day before the state house approved the map with a 122-29 vote.[55] Republicans had proposed an alternate map during floor debates but was defeated on a party-line vote.[56]

Map signed

On November 21, 2011, Governor Deval Patrick (D) signed the new map into law.[57]

Frank announces retirement

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank announced that he would not seek re-election on November 29, 2011.[58]

Legislative maps

Splitting Communities

Some interests across the state pushed to minimalize having multiple representatives for one town or district -- both at the state and Congressional level. For example, Randolph had three state representatives in the 2001-2011 map. Their town council voted 7-2 to request having only one state representative.[59] Representative Steven Levy (R) expressed a similar viewpoint concerning U.S. House seats. In particular, he noted that the 3rd Congressional District -- currently occupied by Jim McGovern -- starts in the middle of Massachusetts in Worcester and streaks down all the way to Fall River at the Rhode Island border. Levy said a district's communities should have similar interests -- both commercial and economic.[60] However, McGovern defended the district's layout. "I love the district I have. I've gotten to know the communities and the people. It's kind of part of my extended family."[60]

Latino-majority districts

At the June 13, 2011 redistricting committee hearing in Lawrence, a citizens group offered a proposal to legislators that would create additional Latino majority-minority districts in the Massachusetts General Court. The Dominican American National Roundtable offered a version of the maps that would alter the districts then held by Senators Barry Finegold (D) and Steven Baddour (D). The proposal would have moved Lawrence from Finegold's district to Baddour's. The two House district proposals would have created two Lawrence-based districts each with more than 70 percent of the population composed of Latino voters. Lawrence has the highest Latino population as a percentage of the total of any New England city.[61]

Majority-minority districts

  • Representative Moran said that four Boston-based districts needed to absorb more communities to increase their population to meet the new requirements. The four districts elected Martin Walsh, Linda Forry, Carlos Henriquez and Russell Holmes in 2010 as their representatives. Each district required about 2,000 residents in order to keep up with faster growth in other districts across the state.[62]
  • A coalition of advocacy groups that had actively called for fair map-drawing throughout the process voiced their opinion in Massachusetts on specific districts and legislative maps in October 2011. The groups urged state lawmakers to create at least eight new minority-majority legislative districts, as well as maintaining at least one minority-majority Congressional district.[63]

State house map

As the redistricting process continued, potential candidates and incumbents faced looming deadlines. Candidates had to establish residency before November 2011 in order to run in 2012 elections for state house. State representative Ellen Story (D) said she thought a number of people would have to move based on population shifts and the new map. The deadline was not as relevant to Senate candidates, who only needed to live within their district by Election Day -- unlike the one-year in advance rule for state house candidates.[64]

Draft released

On October 18, 2011, the state legislature released draft state Senate and state House maps. There were a number of changes to the maps. Among those were:

  • The new maps would increase the number of minority-majority districts in the State Senate from two to three and from 10 to 20 in the State House.[65]
  • The 10th Suffolk District, 14th Suffolk District, and 15th Suffolk District juggled some voting precincts. Those three districts are currently represented by Edward Coppinger (D), Angelo Scaccia (D) and Jeffrey Sanchez (D), respectively.[66]
  • Bradley Jones, Jr. (R) would represent all of Lynnfield, assuming part of a district currently occupied by Donald Wong (R).[67]
  • Two freshmen Democrats and two freshmen Republicans would be put into districts that would have created likely primaries between incumbents. Paul Mark (D) and Gailanne Cariddi (D) would be placed in one district while Jim Lyons (R) and Paul Adams (R) would be placed into the 18th Essex District. However, Adams and Mark said they intend to move before the November 6 residency deadline in order to qualify for incumbent-free districts in Berkshire and Essex counties.[68]
  • State Senator Patricia Jehlen (D) would no longer represent all of Winchester. Half of the town would be added to a district current represented by Katherine Clark (D).[69]
  • The town of Lexington would be consolidated into one House district. Currently it is split between Tom Stanley (D) and Jay Kaufman (D). Under the proposed map, all of Lexington would be in the 15th Middlesex District, which is represented by Kaufman.[70]

Committee approved

The maps were approved by committee on October 25, 2011.[2]

Public input

A total of 13 public hearings across the state were planned. Additionally, redistricting authorities planned an interactive website for citizens.[71] According to Moran, the "people's voice is best heard with the vote."[72] Moran indicated that hearings would hopefully be completed by June, 2011, at which point the map-drawing process would begin. This attempt at redistricting would be the first time in Massachusetts history that the public has had contact with the redistricting committee on the Internet.[72]

"I would anticipate a particularly robust process. I think there's a lot of interest in it," said Senator Richard Moore (D).[60]

Video from all 13 meetings were made be available at the state website.[73]

Thirteen meetings were held. Those dates were:[74]

  • March 16, 2011 at Gardner Auditorium
  • March 26, 2011 at Van Sickle Middle School
  • April 11, 2011 at Clark University
  • May 2, 2011 at Massasoit Community College
  • May 14, 2011 at Joseph Lee Elementary School
  • May 16, 2011 at New Bedford Public Library
  • May 31, 2011 at Greenfield Community College
  • June 6, 2011 at Quincy High School
  • June 11, 2011 at Pittsfield City Hall
  • June 13, 2011 at Lawrence High School
  • June 18, 2011 at Framingham State University
  • June 20, 2011 at Lynn City Hall
  • June 27, 2011 at Cape Cod Community College

Citizen activism

Push for an independent commission

In late 2010, Governor Deval Patrick said he would like to see lawmakers keep redistricting "at arm's length" from the politicians themselves.[75] State Senator Robert Hedlund (R) said, "We’ve seen crazy, convoluted district lines drawn. The Legislature has proven that, at times, it can’t be trusted with this process because politics has taken precedence over common sense district lines."[76] Secretary of State William Galvin (D) has been pushing for a commission to contribute to the re-drawing process -- rather than just the politicians themselves holding all of the power.[75] "Anybody who thinks it can be a nonpolitical process is ignoring history, because the members of Congress have sought to influence the process going back probably to the founding of the republic," Galvin said.[16]

However, Patrick implied it was Galvin who squashed momentum for a reform of the redistricting process. "We, working with the legislative leadership, asked the Secretary of State about a year ago if he would support an independent commission and he said, 'No,' and then a few weeks ago he said, 'Yes,' and at that point they had already started the expenditures to prepare for redistricting, working down that path. I think whatever the process, it's the outcome that has to be right," Patrick said.[77]

Massachusetts has a history of messy redistricting. Last time redistricting occurred, the presiding House Speaker -- Thomas Finneran -- ended up pleading guilty to obstruction of justice in a federal court.[78] The term of "gerrymandering," which describes redistricting when used as a tool for political advantage, was coined in reaction to Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gerry's oddly-shaped districts, created for political gain.[79]

In 2009, the Massachusetts House of Representatives rejected a plan for an 8-member independent commission to take on the task of redistricting.[80]

January 2011 Poll

On January 12, 2011, a poll was released showing that 66 percent of Massachusetts residents support putting an independent commission in charge of redistricting. Only 23 percent of respondents said the legislature should continue to be in charge of redistricting. The survey questioned 400 adults and has a 5 percent margin of error.[81] When the poll was focused solely on respondents who view the legislature favorably, the independent commission was still supported 54 percent to 34 percent.[82] Senator Robert Hedlund planned to introduce legislation to create an independent commission.[81]

Legislation introduced

In January 2011, Republicans introduced legislation that would create an independent redistricting commission. The bill was rejected by a 34-5 vote.[83] Senator Rosenberg (D) said he did not believe there was any evidence that independent commissions draw better maps than legislative committees.[84] Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R) introduced the legislation. "Voting is one of the most fundamental rights in Massachusetts. Redistricting affects the enfranchisement of every voter in the state. ...This is not an attempt to try to alter the authority of the Legislature. This is an attempt to draw others into the process," he said.[83]

The bill would have established a seven-member commission which would be responsible for drawing the maps. Those maps would then be approved or voted down by the Massachusetts State Legislature. The independent commission was supported by Governor Deval Patrick (D), former Governor Mitt Romney (R), current Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, the League of Women Voters, and Common Cause.[85]

Fair Districts

Figure 1: This is Plan A of the Fair Districts Mass drawing for congressional districts after the 2010 census.
Figure 2: This is Plan B of the Fair Districts Mass drawing for congressional districts after the 2010 census.
Figure 3: This is a map submitted by Fair Districts Mass of the state senate districts after the 2010 census.
Figure 4: This is a map submitted by Fair Districts Mass of the state house districts after the 2010 census.

Fair Districts was founded as a nonpartisan group that works to "establish fairly drawn congressional and legislative districts in Massachusetts." In particular, the group focused on a congressional district for Suffolk County. The group favored creation of a majority-minority district.[86]

The organization was led by former U.S. Senate candidate Jack E. Robinson.

In September 2011, the group submitted draft maps for the congressional, state senate, and state house districts. The maps can be viewed at right as figures 1-4.

New Democracy Coalition

The New Democracy Coalition was formed after the conclusion of the 2000 redistricting process, which was filled with controversy and court decisions. Kevin Peterson, the organization's founder, said "This will be historic. Communities of color have not participated in the redistricting process at this level in the past."[87] The mission, according to the website, was:[88]

  • Broaden access to the democratic and voting process for all Americans, particularly for citizens historically disconnected from the political system.
  • Increase the public’s understanding of civic rights and responsibilities by way of public forums, the Internet and publications.
  • Ensure that the election process is fair for all by working to expanded voter rights and opportunities, especially on Election Day.

In early March, the organization spearheaded a coalition meeting of more than 40 organizations across Massachusetts. Representative Michael Moran (Massachusetts) (D) attended the group's first meeting and insisted he would preserve minority influence in the 8th Congressional District. "What I’m committed to is making sure minority voters do not get disenfranchised," Moran said.[89] Keeping minorities as an influence would mean maintaining at least a 40 percent voting bloc.[90]

Black Empowerment for Redistricting

The Massachusetts Black Empowerment for Redistricting organization drafted proposals for the new redistricting maps. One map proposed would redraw the Jamaica Plain area outside Boston -- currently represented by State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D). The district would have likely lost about 1,700 residents.[91]

In September 2011, the Coalition requested that the Department of Justice monitor the process. The Justice Department said it would consider the request, and Michael Moran (Massachusetts) (D) had no comment on the matter.[92]

Map-drawing competition

The Common Cause of Massachusetts sponsored a contest for citizens to submit their versions of redistricting maps. The competition was called Redistricting Olympics. The winning maps will be rewarded cash prizes -- $750 for the State House map, $500 for the Congressional map and $500 for the State Senate map. The deadline was August 30, 2011.[93]


According to State representative Christopher Speranzo (D), the Congressional map would be completed before November 6, 2011.[94]


Massachusetts experienced a controversial redistricting process in 2001. The initial plan was released on a Friday, and given approval the following Monday, sparking a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act.[16] Additionally, the House speaker at the time -- Thomas Finneran -- was indicted on charges of lying under oath about his role in redistricting. Finneral pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and received probation.[95]

Currently, five of the 10 Massachusetts U.S. House of Representatives members live within a 10-mile radius of Boston. With the state losing one representative, at least one representative will likely be thrust into a district with another sitting incumbent. That has not happened in Massachusetts since 1982, when Barney Frank and Republican Margaret Heckler ran against one another after the 1980 census (Frank won).[16]

Deviation from "Ideal Districts"

2000 Population Deviation[96]
Office Percentage
Congressional Districts 0.29%
State House Districts 9.68%
State Senate Districts 9.33%
Under federal law, districts may vary from an 'Ideal District' by up to 10%, though the lowest number achievable is preferred. 'Ideal Districts' are computed through simple division of the number of seats for any office into the population at the time of the Census.

Constitutional explanation

The Massachusetts Constitution provides authority to the Massachusetts General Court for redistricting in Section 2 of Article Cl.

See also

External links


  1. Boston Herald, "Olver to retire, easing redistrict plan decisions," October 27, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 Boston Globe, "Panel approves legislative redistricting maps," October 25, 2011
  3. Wall Street Journal, "Frank Won't Seek Re-Election," November 29, 2011
  4. WBUR "Massachusetts Pols Brace for Redistricting Battles," December 5, 2010
  5. Beacon Hill Roll Call, "Senate approves redistricting commission," February 11, 2011
  6. ABC 6 "Mass. House nixes independent redistricting panel," March 2, 2011
  7. Boston Herald, "Mass. House nixes independent redistricting panel," March 2, 2011
  8. News Telegram, "Redistricting panel rejected," March 2, 2011
  9. The Sun Chronicle, "Poirier named to redistricting panel," March 16, 2011
  10. Gloucester Times, "Cape Ann politicos to redraw districts," March 8, 2011
  11. Boston Herald, "Redistricting panel to begin work," March 16, 2011
  12. Boston Globe, "Committee holds first redistricting hearing," March 16, 2011
  13. WWLP 22 News, "Lawmakers launch redistricting process," March 16, 2011 (dead link)
  14. Boston Herald, "Lawmakers launch Mass. redistricting process," March 16, 2011
  15. Belmont Citizen-Herald, "Census preparing to deliver redistricting data to states," January 13, 2011
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Boston Globe, "Legislative redistricting may be a tough task," December 23, 2010
  17. Boston Globe, "Census begins fight on districts," March 23, 2011
  18. Gloucester Times, "Tierney optimistic that 6th District will survive redistricting," December 21, 2010
  19. Boston Globe, "Barney Frank Says he won't retire," February 3, 2011
  20. Wall Street Journal, "Frank Won't Seek Re-Election," November 29, 2011
  21. Mass Live, "Western Massachusetts could be target for losing a congressional seat," March 24, 2011
  22. Boston Globe, "New precincts lines aid Mass. redistricting effort," July 29, 2011 (dead link)
  23. U.S. Census Bureau, "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Massachusetts' 2010 Census Population Totals, Including First Look at Race and Hispanic Origin Data for Legislative Redistricting ," March 22, 2011
  24. Boston Herald, "Wary pols eye Census data," March 23, 2011
  25. Berkshire Eagle Tribune, "Tsongas, Tierney confident congressional seats will survive redistricting," March 27, 2011
  26. Boston Globe, "Regional coalition mounts bid to preserve Sixth District," April 7, 2011
  27. Item Live, "Tierney: Keep Lynn in Sixth District," May 18, 2011
  28. Lynn Journal, "Lynn Chamber of Commerce Leads Effort to Keep City in Sixth Congressional District," June 7, 2011
  29. The Patriot Ledger, "Group proposes splitting South Shore to create a mostly minority congressional district," May 12, 2011
  30. Eagle-Tribune, "Plan would move Lawrence, Haverhill from Tsongas to Tierney district," May 13, 2011
  31. Boston Herald, "Group says redrawn Congressional districts would maximize ‘voter power’" May 11, 2011
  32. iBerkshires, "Berkshire County Sends Clear Message on Redistricting," June 11, 2011
  33. National Journal, "Bay State Scramble," January 12, 2011
  34. Boston Globe, "State legislators go to D.C. to discuss redistricting process," February 20, 2011
  35. WCVB Boston, "After Team 5 inquiry, fundraiser canceled," February 10, 2011
  36. Boston Globe, "Moran cancels first D.C. fund-raiser as questions raised about conflict," February 13, 2011
  37. Wicked Local Allston, "Fending off GOP whining, Moran find unlikely support," February 8, 2011
  38., "Legislators Sound Out Congressional Delegation About Redistricting," February 4, 2011
  39. Boston Herald, "Reps. Mike Capuano, Stephen Lynch visit Capitol to lobby redistrict chairmen," June 30, 2011
  40. Huffington Post, "Mapping Massachusetts," April 1, 2011
  41. Salem News, "Group forms to save 6th District," March 21, 2011
  42. Boston Globe, "W. Mass pols: Don't take away Congressional seat," March, 26, 2011
  43. Mass Live, "Redistricting hearing draws support for Neal, Olver," March 26, 2011
  44. News Telegram, "Rep. McGovern wants his district left alone," April 12, 2011
  45. Boston Globe, "Brown: Legislature should create majority-minority district in Boston," April 27, 2011
  46. Boston Herald, "Scott Brown pushes minority district plan," April 28, 2011
  47. NECN "Broadside: Call for majority minority district in Boston," March 23, 2011 (dead link)
  48. The Hill, "Reps. Lynch, Keating may face off in primary," August 18, 2011
  49. Dorchester Reporter, "Rep. Lynch v. Rep. Keating in 2012?" August 18, 2011
  50. Politico, "Olver's exit averts intraparty fight," October 26, 2011
  51. Berkshire Eagle, "Berkshires may lose rural voice with Olver's retirement," October 28, 2011
  52. Boston Globe, "Keating to move from Quincy to Cape, due to redistricting map," November 8, 2011
  53. Boston Herald, "Republicans see hope in Mass. redistricting," November 9, 2011
  54. Boston Globe, "New Mass. congressional map clears another hurdle," November 10, 2011
  55. Enterprise News, "Senate OKs Congressional redistricting map that separates coastal towns," November 16, 2011
  56. Boston Globe, "Mass. lawmakers vote on new congressional map," November 15, 2011
  57. Boston Globe, "Gov. Patrick signs congressional redistricting map," November 21, 2011
  58. Wall Street Journal, "Frank Won't Seek Re-Election," November 29, 2011
  59. Wicked Local Randolph, "Officials push for only one state rep for Randolph," January 27, 2011
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  61. Eagle Tribune, "Proposal would create Latino-heavy legislative districts — and make targets out of Baddour and Finegold," June 26, 2011
  62. Dorchester Reporter, "Redistricting chair: Dot House seats need to expand borders," August 15, 2011
  63. Boston Globe, "Advocates seek boost in Mass. minority voter clout," October 5, 2011
  64. Dorchester Reporter, "Residency requirement in play as House continues work on redistricting," October 4, 2011
  65. Mass Live, "Massachusetts legislators release maps of proposed new seats for state Senate, House," October 18, 2011
  66. West Roxbury Patch, "10th Suffolk District Swaps One West Roxbury Precinct for Roslindale Precinct in Redistricting ," October 18, 2011 (dead link)
  67. Lynnfield Patch, "Jones to Represent Entire Town of Lynnfield ," October 18, 2011
  68. Wicked Local West Bridgewater, "STATE HOUSE NEWS: Two Reps say they'll move, run in new districts rather than face colleagues," October 19, 2011
  69. Winchester Patch, "Half of Winchester Could Get New State Senator ," October 20, 2011
  70. Wicked Local Winchester, "Redrawn legislative map makes Lexington one House district," October 19, 2011
  71. Wicked Local Stoneham, "Redistricting overseers planning sitdowns with delegation members," February 4, 2011
  72. 72.0 72.1 Wicked Local Amesbury, "Moran is the state's redistricting czar," January 24, 2011
  73. Framingham Patch, "State Held Informational Meeting on Redistricting," March 24, 2011
  74. Massachusetts Redistricting Calendar
  75. 75.0 75.1 Boston Herald, "Patrick:Redistricting should be 'at arm's length'," December 6, 2010
  76. Wicked Local Weymoth, "Redistricting games are starting, and something's got to give," January 3, 2011
  77. Belmont Citizen-Herald, "Independent redistricting panel lacks traction on Beacon Hill," December 22, 2010
  78. Boston Herald, "Massachusetts pols brace for redistricting battles," December 4, 2010
  79. The politics of Gerrymandering
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  81. 81.0 81.1 Patriot Ledger, "Poll: Public favors independent panel for congressional redistricting," January 12, 2011
  82. Metrowest Daily News, "Poll shows Massachusetts residents back independent redistricting commission," January 13, 2011
  83. 83.0 83.1 Wicked Local Dedham, "Senate Democrats scuttle independent redistricting panel," January 21, 2011
  84. Boston Herald, "Mass. Senate nixes independent redistricting panel," January 20, 2011
  85. Wicked Local, "Beacon Hill Roll Call: How did you legislator vote?" January 21, 2011
  86. [Email submission to Ballotpedia, September 7, 2011]
  87. Boston Globe, "Activists eye redistricting map that preserves black voting blocs," March 2, 2011
  88. New Democracy Coalition Website
  89. Boston Globe, "Seeking a better way to draw US House lines," March 1, 2011
  90. Boston Herald, "Rep:Minorities will keep clout in redistricting," March 1, 2011
  91. Jamaica Plain Gazette, "Group wants 2nd Suffolk changes," August 12, 2011
  92. WBUR "Group Seeks Federal Oversight Of Redistricting," September 2, 2011
  93. Common Cause, "Redistricting Olympics"
  94. Berkshire Eagle, "Redistricting will be done by November," March 24, 2011
  95. Patriot Ledger, "Redistricting starts with a fight as big changes expect," December 17, 2010
  96. National Conference of State Legislatures, “Redistricting 2000 Population Deviation Table”," accessed February 1, 2011