Maine's redistricting commission completes its work

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A bipartisan panel on Monday completed work on redrawing the state's congressional and legislative districts, and state lawmakers will gather Wednesday to vote on the maps.

Negotiations continued through the weekend before the final agreement was reached on 35 state Senate districts. Agreements already were reached on congressional districts and state House districts.

The panel voted 14-0 during a remote meeting on the final part of the plan on Monday, which was the deadline.

The last-minute agreement avoided a potential court battle over the maps.

Maps still have to be approved by a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Maine Legislature when lawmakers convene Wednesday

Census delays caused a compressed schedule for the panel. The deadlines were supposed to be in August, but Maine Supreme Judicial Court provided extra time to complete the work.

For congressional districts, the panel was tasked with moving about 23,300 voters from the 1st Congressional District, which includes Portland, to the 2nd District to reflect population shifts in the census.

The panel voted to move Augusta to the 2nd Congressional District. But the panel balked at moving Waterville, where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 3-1, to the 2nd District.

Municipalities that would shift to the 2nd District were Chelsea, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Manchester, Readfield and Winthrop.

Meanwhile, Albion, Benton, Clinton, Litchfield and West Gardiner would move to the 2nd District.