Montana State Legislature
Districting and Apportionment Commission
Redistricting is the act of drawing new political boundaries. In Montana, a five-member Districting and Apportionment Commission has authority under the Montana Constitution to draw the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts every 10 years. Using population data from the most recent U.S. Census, the commission must draw districts with approximately the same number of people in them. Montana has used a commission to draw congressional and state legislative districts since 1973.
Article V, Section 14(2) of the Montana Constitution sets out the selection process for and qualifications of the commissioners.
- Commissioners are selected in the session immediately before a federal census.
- Commissioners may not be public officials.
- The majority and minority leaders of each house of the Legislature each select one commissioner.
- The first four commissioners have 20 days to select the fifth member, who will also be the commission's presiding officer.
- The Supreme Court selects the fifth commissioner if the first four are unable to select a commissioner within the 20 days.
After results from the federal census are available, the commission must complete a congressional redistricting plan within 90 days.
The commission must present a state legislative plan to the Montana Legislature by the 10th legislative day of the first regular session after the federal census results are available. The Legislature then has 30 days to make recommendations to the commission. Within 30 days of receiving the Legislature's recommendations, the commission must file the redistricting plan with the Secretary of State, and it becomes law. Although the commission may modify the plan to accommodate the Legislature's recommendations, it is not required to do so.