In many states, congressional redistricting is a high-stakes adventure in mathematics and cartography in which district lines snake around neighborhoods and swallow up subdivisions to create safe seats for the party in power.

In Maine that’s just not the case. When you have only two congressional districts, the exercise amounts to counting how many people live in the state and drawing a line that leaves half of them on each side.

The U.S. Census has done the first part, and it’s up to state officials to do the second. This should not be hard, and it should not take long.

It’s no surprise that the case is political, but it doesn’t have to be contentious. This is one issue that the parties should be able to decide mutually without too much public battle.

As it now stands, two Cape Elizabeth voters have filed a suit in U.S. District Court charging that the southward shift in population has made the 1st Congressional District bigger than the 2nd by 8,677 residents.

That dilutes the influence of a southern Maine vote and requires a revision of the line. The plaintiffs argue that it should be done in time for the 2012 election. The defendants in the case are the Republican governor, Senate president, House speaker and secretary of state, but even though they are the ones being sued, they agree with the plaintiffs that the current district line is unconstitutional. They favor an expedited redistricting process.

The Democratic Party has filed as an intervenor in the case and has argued that a speedy revision would harm a methodical, bipartisan process that would not redraw the line until 2013.

A three-judge panel agrees with the plaintiffs, however, and has set deadlines that would require the political process, with a plan approved by the Legislature, to be completed by the end of the year.

That is more than enough time to draw a line between two districts and should not give a political advantage to either party going into the next general election.

Other states have much more difficult decisions, such as eliminating districts from their electoral map because of a relative loss of population. Maine just has to give the line between districts a little nudge.

It’s time for that to happen.