From WHYY: Wu-Tang, Washington Crossing the Delaware – Critics cite strange shapes, split communites in legislative redistricting maps

Legislative Hall in Dover.

The process is rushed.

A longtime Republican representative is being squeezed out.

Some districts are very oddly shaped.


State lawmakers heard a variety of criticism over Delaware’s newly drawn legislative maps, which are expected to be voted on early next month. The new maps come as part of the once-a-decade process to make sure state House and Senate districts are roughly the same sizes after the 2020 census.


Because state law requires house districts to contain about 24,000 residents, districts can be 5% above or below that threshold. In addition to population growth, State House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf said there were also a few other priorities as the lines were drawn, including keeping communities intact.

“If it is what’s called a majority-minority district, a district where more than 50% of the population is minority, then we’re bound to try to maintain that,” he said. “We have to carefully expand the district to make sure we don’t drop below the 50% threshold.”

Map drawers have also worked to keep existing elected officials located in their current districts so as not to redistrict someone out of a seat. That effort has resulted in some odd-looking districts, said Dwayne Bensing with the Delaware ACLU.

“Using incumbent’s addresses has also resulted in several non-compact districts, but some of the most egregious examples being District 17, which looks like “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” District 2 that looks like a megaphone, and District 5 that looks like a Wu-Tang Clan logo,” he said.

Legislators will hold a special session on Monday, with one critic saying that more time is needed for public comment.

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Wu-Tang and ‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’? Critics see odd shapes, split communities in Delaware redistricting maps