AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A team of Democrats and Republicans in Augusta today began drawing new boundaries lines for Maine's 186 legislative districts. Apportionment, as it's officially called, is a highly political process, but people on both sides say the results should still matter to Maine people.
The constitution requires the Legislature to be rea-pportioned every ten years, to account for changes in population. Party insiders say there are lots of laws to guide the work, and the process ultimately has to be fair to all sides. But they also say it's a chance for the political parties to try to gain an advantage in some areas -or avoid losing one.
Apportionment is also a reflection of changing population trends. In Maine, the ongoing migration of people towards Cumberland and York counties, in particular, was a factor in the fight two years ago to re-draw the lines for the state's two Congressional districts. The First District grew geographically smaller than ever to reflect its own population growth, and the declining population of the huge Second District.
The Apportionment Commission is made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, including legislators and party officials. The chairman is an independent. The Commission today said it will hold a public meeting in March to let both sides show off their ideas for changing districts.