DES MOINES, Iowa – The Legislative Services Agency (LSA) would typically have 35 days to submit a second redistricting plan after Tuesday when the Iowa Senate voted down the first redistricting plan, meaning the second plan had to be released by November 10.
On Wednesday, LSA announced they would submit a bill to the Iowa Legislature that encompasses a second Congressional and legislative redistricting plan by Thursday, October 16, cutting the time to redraw the map by 20 days. Considering the Iowa Supreme Court just extended the redistricting deadline until December 1 due to the delay in releasing the 2020 decennial census data, LSA is working with an abbreviated timetable.
In normal redistricting years, the deadline would be September 15.
The Iowa Senate passed SJR 9 32 to 18 on Tuesday that explained to LSA why the chamber rejected the first redistricting plan. Lawmakers requested a second plan that “balances compactness with the legally mandated population deviation.”
When LSA submits the second redistricting plan according to the legislature’s feedback, lawmakers can not vote on it before Thursday, October 28, 2021. Legislators can only make corrective amendments and, unlike with the first redistricting plan, public hearings are not required.
It is uncertain whether the legislature will approve the second plan. The last time LSA was required to provide a third plan was in 1981.
Iowa Democrats have raised the specter of gerrymandering.
Iowa Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, D-Coralville, criticized Republicans for not responding to Democrat accusations of gerrymandering.
“Republicans have had every opportunity to say they won’t gerrymander, yet they haven’t done so. We remain very concerned that legislative Republicans are planning to gerrymander legislative districts and rig elections in their favor. Their actions have been needlessly partisan and destructive to our fair, nonpartisan process,” he said in a released statement.