Official Massachusetts census data is set to be released Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for the state’s nine congressional districts to be redrawn.
Secretary of State William Galvin will announce the 2020 Census redistricting data at 5 p.m. outside the State House.
As the state’s census liaison, he will unveil the official population numbers for the largest communities and discussing population trends around Massachusetts.
According to Politico, the Legislature will take that Census data and combine it with information from the hearings its Redistricting Committee has held to begin redrawing the state’s congressional districts, along with the 40 state Senate and 160 state House districts.
Massachusetts is one of eight states in the U.S. where Democrats will control redistricting.
The first set of results from the 2020 census left Massachusetts lawmakers relieved: the state isn’t losing any seats this time around.
The new data being released Thursday will show which counties, cities and neighborhoods gained or lost the most people in the 2020 census. That will serve as the building block to redraw 429 U.S. House districts in 44 states and 7,383 state legislative districts across the U.S. The official goal is to ensure each district has roughly the same number of people.
But many Republicans and Democrats will be operating with another goal — to ensure the new lines divide and combine voters in ways that make it more likely for their party’s candidates to win future elections, a process called gerrymandering. The parties’ successes in that effort could determine whether taxes and spending grow, climate-change polices are approved or access to abortion is expanded or curtailed.
The redistricting process will be conducted on a compressed timeline. States are getting the data more than four months later than originally scheduled because of difficulties in conducting the 2020 census during the coronavirus pandemic.
That means map-drawers will have to work quickly to meet constitutional deadlines in some states or seek judicial approval to take longer.