The 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. Montana is one of only thirteen states that give the primary responsibility for drawing legislative districts to a commission.
After results from the federal census are available, the commission must complete a Congressional redistricting plan within 90 days. The current commission completed this task on May 16, 2011, and filed the one-district plan with the Office of the Secretary of State.
The legislative redistricting plan will be presented to the 2013 Legislature for review and recommendations. The Legislature 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. The legislative plan will be in effect for the 2014 election cycle.
The commission's work plan outlines a tentative schedule to complete its constitutionally required work.
The operating procedures provide more detail about how the commission will draw maps and take public comment during the next few years.
The districting criteria, as adopted by the commissioners on May 28th, 2010, outline the criteria they will use to guide their work.
Article V, Section 14(2) of the Montana Constitution provides that the redistricting and reapportioning of the state shall be carried out by a commission of five citizens and lists the manner in which those commissioners are to be selected.
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 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.