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September 1 deadline poses dilemma for Iowa’s redistricting process

DES MOINES — Iowa lawmakers are reviewing their options after U.S. Census officials confirm the population data for redrawing congressional and legislative districts won’t be delivered until this fall.

Every ten years, the contours of congressional and legislative districts are redrawn to account for population changes. Iowa’s Constitution requires the legislature to approve new maps by September 1. U.S. Census Bureau officials say the data on which those maps are based won’t be delivered until September 30.

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver said the “realities of the pandemic, the Iowa Constitution and the U.S. Constitution are creating a unique set of challenges” and the Senate is evaluating its options on how best to proceed.

Republican House Speaker Pat Grassley says lawmakers are “working with the Legislative Services Agency to determine what options are available and how to best…to maintain the integrity of our highly-praised redistricting process in Iowa.”

Legislative leaders have begun appointing members to the temporary board that holds public hearings about the redistricting process. In 2011, the legislature approved its plan for redrawing district lines by mid-April.

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