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Oregon Supreme Court gives lawmakers more time to redraw political lines

KTVZ file

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the Legislature will have until Sept. 27 to complete the redistricting process, giving lawmakers more time to draw political boundaries following a delay in crucial census data.

The unanimous decision by the justices will give legislative leaders nearly three extra months to do their work.

Redistricting, the process where lawmakers redraw legislative and congressional districts, occurs every 10 years following the census. Districts must be equal in population to each other.

Although there’s a set number of state legislative districts, due to Oregon’s population growth in the last decade, it is likely that the state will receive an additional, sixth seat in the US House of Representatives.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that data may not be delivered until Sept. 30. Under the Oregon Constitution and state laws, the deadline to redraw districts is July 1.

This prompted Oregon’s Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, and House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland to file a petition with the state Supreme Court, asking for a redistricting extension until the end of the year.

In their ruling, the state Supreme Court justices said, “The federal government’s delayed release of the 2020 census data makes it impossible for the Legislative Assembly and the Secretary to fulfill their constitutional responsibilities without an adjustment of those deadlines.”

Secretary of State Shemia Fagan opposed that idea, citing concerns about an extension disrupting the election cycle. Instead, Fagan proposed moving forward with the current July 1 deadline and use alternative data sets from Portland State University’s Population Research Center.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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The Associated Press


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