AUGUSTA — Republicans and Democrats continue to offer competing proposals for redrawing the lines of Maine’s two congressional districts, even with a vote expected today by the panel that will make recommendations to the Legislature.

Democrats today issued their third proposal, redistributing towns in Kennebec County to create districts with a population difference of one.

Similar proposals offered earlier by Democrats called for population differences of 11 people and three people. They said the latest plan addresses what Republicans have called their top concern, which is minimizing the population difference.

A panel of federal judges ruled in June that Maine must redraw its congressional districts to reflect population shifts and eliminate a disparity of nearly 8,700 residents in time for the 2012 elections.

Last week, Republicans outlined a proposal to put Androscoggin County, including the population center of Lewiston-Auburn, in the 1st Congressional District, something the Democrats have opposed.
The latest GOP plan would keep North Haven, the hometown of Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, in the 1st District, unlike an earlier proposal.

It largely would maintain the current shape of the 1st District, rather than extend it north into Franklin and Oxford counties, as an earlier map did.

Both sides claim to be working hard to create a consensus map, while taking digs at each other for being unwilling to compromise.

The 15-member Reapportionment Committee, which is chaired by an independent, is expected to vote today. The panel may take several votes on various proposals or unite behind one plan.

Its recommendation will be sent to the Legislature for consideration during a special session in late September.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:
[email protected]