A closer look at Delaware’s new state legislative maps

By Douglas Kronaizl

On Nov. 2, 2021, Gov. John Carney (D) signed Senate Bill 199 (SB 199) into law, enacting new maps for Delaware’s 21 state Senate and 41 state House districts. These maps will take effect for the state’s 2022 legislative elections.

Eighteen states have finalized their state legislative redistricting maps following the 2020 census. At this point in the 2010 redistricting cycle, 29 states had completed their legislative maps.

The Delaware General Assembly approved the final House and Senate map proposals on Nov. 1 before sending them to Carney. 

The state Senate approved the maps along party lines with all 14 Democrats in favor and all seven Republicans against. Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola (D) said, “The map does retain the cores of all 21 current Senate districts … It does retain five majority-minority Senate districts. It retains one majority-Black Senate district.” 

Republican senators opposing the bill said the Senate map did not account for population growth in Sussex County, the state’s fastest-growing. Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker (R) said, “Our constituents in Sussex County are way underrepresented … It’s not fair to the senators in those districts and it’s not fair to the staffing we have to represent those districts.”

SB 199 faced no debate in the House of Representatives, where members voted 40-1 in favor with state Rep. Michael Smith (R) voting against.

Democrats currently control both chambers of the Delaware General Assembly with a 14-7 majority in the Senate and a 26-15 majority in the House.

Since Delaware was apportioned a single at-large U.S. House seat, it will not conduct congressional redistricting during the 2020 cycle.

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