Redistricting Frequently Asked Questions

What is reapportionment?
Reapportionment refers to the process of assigning seats in the United States House of Representatives among the fifty states. Every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau uses a formula based on population to calculate the apportionment of these seats. This method has been used in every census since 1940. After apportionment, it is us up to the individual states to redraw their Congressional districts to account for any changes.
The population of Massachusetts has grown at a slower rate than others, necessitating the loss of a seat in Congress and shifting our representation from ten seats to nine.
What is redistricting?
Redistricting is the process of redrawing legislative district boundaries from which public officials are elected. Redistricting in Massachusetts takes place after the release of the decennial census data.
What is the decennial census?
The decennial census counts every resident of the United States. It has been conducted in years ending in "0" since 1790, as required by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.
Who has primary responsibility for redistricting?
In Massachusetts the state legislature is responsible for redistricting according to the Massachusetts Constitution. All new districts must be voted on and then approved by the House, Senate and Governor.
When do the new districts take effect?
Once approved, the new Congressional, Senate, Council and House districts will become effective for the 2012 election cycle.
Why are towns in Massachusetts odd shapes and square in other parts of the country?
The Original 13 Colonies used a system of measurement called metes and boundaries which relies on natural features such as streams to measure boundaries.  More...
How can the public get involved?
Public participation plays an integral role in the redistricting process. There are many ways to get involved and have your voice be heard. You can contact the committee through our contact page which can be found on this site. You can also attend a public hearing or contact your local representatives.

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