Redistricting Reform Tracker (Congressional Bills)

Most current efforts to reform congressional redistricting are taking place in the states. But at least some members of Congress also are proposing federal reforms. Here’s a rundown of the redistricting reform bills that have been filed in Congress as of April 18, 2018.

April 30, 2018

While states are responsible for drawing congressional districts every ten years, Congress has the power under the Constitution’s Elections Clause (Art. I, sec. 4) to set rules governing how states draw districts. Congress has used this power in the past, for example, to mandate that states use single-member districts.

Most current efforts to reform congressional redistricting are taking place in the states. But at least some members of Congress also are proposing reforms at the federal level. Here’s a rundown of the redistricting reform bills that have been filed in Congress as of April 18, 2018.

For a summary of redistricting reform bills filed in state legislatures, please visit our State Redistricting Reform Tracker.

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H.R. 145: An omnibus anti-corruption reform bill including a requirement for each state to use a nonpartisan independent commission to conduct congressional redistricting, starting with the redistricting that follows the 2020 census; prohibits the use of federal funds for election administration purposes unless the state uses a nonpartisan independent redistricting commission to draw state legislative districts.

H.B. 151: Requires states that enact a mid-decade congressional redistricting plan to obtain a declaratory judgment that the plan does not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color, or, alternatively, to secure preclearance of the plan from the Department of Justice, pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

H.B. 711/H.B. 712: Prohibits states from drawing their congressional districts more than once every ten years; requires states to use an advisory redistricting  commission, appointed by legislative leaders, to draw congressional districts for consideration by the state legislature; requires the commission to hold public meetings and maintain a website; establishes criteria for states to follow constitutional and federal guidelines; prohibits the use of political data except when necessary to comply with the Voting Rights Act.

H.B. 713: Requires states to conduct redistricting process that provides opportunities for public participation when congressional maps; mandates redistricting entities must maintain a website to display a map, census data, and notices for public hearings; redistricting entities must provide opportunities for public input online and in person before and after voting on proposed maps; ensures that final maps are circulated in newspapers throughout the state.

H.B. 1102: Requires states to use a twelve-member independent redistricting commission appointed by a nonpartisan agency to draw congressional districts; commissioners should represent the demographic and geographic diversity of a state; establishes criteria including minimizing the division of any community of interest, municipality, county, or neighborhood; commission must hold at least three public hearings before and after voting on proposed maps; final maps shall be circulated in newspapers throughout the state.

H.B. 2978/S.1419: Amends the Voting Rights Act to revise the criteria for determining what actions are subject to federal preclearance. Covered actions include, changes to district boundaries that reduce by 3 or more percentage points the proportion of a jurisdiction’s voting-age population comprised of members of a single racial group or language minority group in an area, where two or more racial or language minority group each represents 20 percent or more of the voting-age population, and revisions to the boundaries of a jurisdiction where any racial group or minority experiences a population increase of at least 10,000 or 20 percent of the voting-age population of the state or political subdivision over the preceding decade; requires public notice of changes in the constituency or boundaries of an electoral district no later than 10 days after the change occurs. 

H.R. 2981: Requires all candidates for congressional office to run in open primaries; requires election day to be treated as a legal public holiday; requires each state to use a redistricting commission to draw congressional boundaries; prohibits commission from using partisan or political considerations in developing a plan. 

H.B. 3239: Amends the Voting Rights Act to revise criteria for determining which states and political subdivisions are subject to section 4 of the Act; requires public notice of changes in the constituency or boundaries of an electoral district no later than 10 days after the changes occur in a convenient and accessible format and on the Internet.

H.B. 3537: An omnibus democracy reform bill including, among other things, a requirement for states to use an advisory redistricting commissions, appointed by the state legislatures, to draw congressional districts; establishes criteria for drawing new maps; bars commissions from considering political party affiliations or voting histories when drawing new districts except to the extent necessary to comply with the Voting Rights Act or if state law requires creating competitive congressional districts; requires commissions to solicit public feedback. 

H.B. 3848/S.1880: An omnibus democracy reform bill including, among other things, a requirement for states to use a twelve-member independent redistricting commission to draw congressional districts; specifies that members of each commission shall be appointed by a select committee through a randomized selection process from a pool created by a nonpartisan agency; establishes criteria for drawing new maps; bars the commissions from considering political party affiliations or voting histories when drawing new districts  except to the extent necessary to comply with the Voting Rights Act; requires commissions to hold at least three public hearings before developing and after publishing preliminary maps. 

H.B. 3057: Requires each state to use a ranked choice voting system for congressional primaries, special, and runoff elections; restricts redistricting to every ten years unless otherwise court-ordered or required by law; requires states with six or more representatives to use multi-member districts; requires states with five or fewer representatives to elect all its representatives at-large; requires twelve-member independent commissions, each appointed by a nonpartisan agency, to draw congressional boundaries;  establishes redistricting criteria, such as ensuring districts reflect the diversity of political opinion in the state; requires each commission to hold at least three public hearings before and after a adopting a preliminary plan and maintain a public website; authorizes the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to develop congressional plans if the commissioner selection process fails or if the commissions fail to adopt plans.

H.B. 5292: Establishes a task force of census experts to ensure the questions added to the 2020 census do not negatively impact the integrity or accuracy of the census and assess how changes to the questions will affect participation.

H.B. 5303: Amends Title 13 of the United States Code to require the Secretary of Commerce to take measures to fully and accurately count all Americans living abroad on census day to the maximum extent practicable and to attribute them to their respective states starting with the 2030 census.

H.B. 5359/S. 2578: Amends Title 13 of the United States Code to require the Secretary of Commerce to provide advance notice to Congress before changing any questions on the census; prohibits the Secretary of Commerce from implementing a major operational design that has not been researched, studied, and tested for no less than three years before the date on which the census occurs; prohibits questions from being included on the census that were not submitted to Congress; requires to the Comptroller General of the U.S. to certify to Congress that the subjects, information, and questions that will be included on the census have been adequately researched, studied, and tested to the same degree as those on previous censuses.

S. 2366: Provides an adjustment to the discretionary spending limits for appropriations to the 2020 census.

S. 2580: Amends Title 13 of the United States Code to clarify that the total number of persons in each state must be tabulated for congressional apportionment; prohibits eliciting citizenship or immigration status information from the census.

H.B. 4906: Amends Title 13 of the United States Code to prohibit questions on citizenship, immigration, or nationality on any census.

H.B. 5454: Amends Title 13 of the United States Code to mandate that incarcerated individuals shall be counted at their last place of residence prior to incarceration for congressional reapportionment purposes.

H.B. 4013: Provides appropriations for the Census Bureau for the 2018 fiscal year. (2017)

H.B. 3600: Amends Title 13 of the United States Code to mandate that the Secretary of Commerce must include a checkbox or other option for respondents to indicate citizenship, nationality, or immigration status on any questionnaire used to determine the total population by the states. (2017)

H. Res. 283: Resolution expressing the sense of the U.S. House of Representatives that congressional redistricting should be reformed to remove political gerrymandering. 

H. Res. 343:  An omnibus resolution expressing, among other things, the sense of the House of Representatives that congressional redistricting should be reformed to remove political gerrymandering; recommends the establishment of a federal reapportionment system; recommends redistricting criteria, including prohibiting districts that favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party.

H. Res. 364: Resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that congressional redistricting should be reformed to remove political gerrymandering; recommends a federal apportionment system and redistricting criteria, including a prohibition on districts that favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party.

S. 3123: Bill prohibiting partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts; establishing redistricting criteria; providing for the right of any eligible voter in a state to contest a gerrymandered map.