At the start of the redistricting process, the task at hand looked easy. Maine only has two congressional districts and drawing a line between them that puts half the population on each side does not look like a tall order. And in the end, that’s basically what lawmakers did, approving a plan with nearly unanimous support.

Between the beginning and the end, however, we witnessed enough partisan elbow-throwing, rhetorical posturing and hyperbole to make us doubt that anything could ever get done outside a courtroom.

Republicans presented a map, with a north-south dividing line that created two compact districts of equal size that coincidentally created a 2nd District with 9,000 more Republicans than it currently has. And that figure, coincidentally, was the margin of victory for Rep. Mike Michaud over Republican Kevin Raye in 2002. Raye is now Senate president, but will be looking for a job next year because of term limits, so wags called this map the “Kevin Raye plan.”

Democrats declared that 300,000 Mainers would be “forced to move” from one district to another if the Republican plan was adopted, conjuring images of refugees shuffling down a road with their meager belongings stuffed in pillowcases.

In reality, the only Mainer who might have had to move would have been 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree, who lists North Haven as her primary residence and would have had to change that if she wanted to keep living in her district.

Talk of compromise between the parties was overshadowed by the assertion by some Republican leaders that although state law requires a two-thirds vote to approve a district map, they could change that law with a simple majority and pass their plan with no Democratic votes.

Fortunately, it didn’t come to that. The two sides agreed to reshuffle towns in Kennebec County and leave the rest of the state alone. There will be no refugees, and Rep. Pingree will remain a resident of her district.

The new map does shift solidly Democratic Waterville (which delivered 5,000 votes for Barack Obama in 2008) from the 2nd District to the 1st, but it does not appear to give Maine an extreme political makeover. Both seats are ones that either party should be able to win with the right candidate, and that’s how it should be.

The Legislature did need a deadline to act, but this did not turn into the highly partisan brinkmanship we are used to seeing in Washington. In the end, both parties retreated from ideological positions and drew a district line that almost everyone could live with. It took a while, but when the time came they made it look easy.