As a result of the 2010 U.S. Census and subsequent request from civil rights groups to redraw election districts, the election districts in Somerset County are going to look quite diferent in 2012. Today, Somerset County residents will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the newly proposed election district boundaries that remove close to 3,000 prisoners from the Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) from the local population. As reported by The (Salisbury) Daily Times:
The nonvoting, majority black population at ECI has been counted since 1987 as part of District 1 — considered the county’s minority district — and diluted the voting power of county residents, American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland officials said.
The proposed new lines for District 1 now include all of the historically black University of Maryland Eastern Shore, which previously was split between districts 1 and 2. But that plan could create the same problem, said Kirkland Hall, president of the Somerset County NAACP.
In addition to the proposed changes in districts 1 and 2, parts of District 3 in the Princess Anne area would be included in District 2 if the new map is approved.
District 5 in the Crisfield area also was underpopulated, so a small piece of District 4 between Pear Street and Silver Lane was added to it.