The Maryland Department of Planning this week released its adjusted 2020 Census numbers, paving the way for district drawing commissions to draw new boundaries in time for next year’s midterm elections.
While the Census data was released to all states on August 12, 2021, Maryland is one of nine states required by state law to reallocate incarcerated residents to their last known address. By incorporating this adjusted Census data into the portal, residents can now begin creating their own redistricting maps.
According to a press release:
The map submission portal, loaded with the adjusted data and including detailed instructions on how to submit a map, is now live. Map submissions will be reviewed by the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission (Citizens Commission) prior to their drawing of the maps if received by Friday, September 24 at noon. Additional submissions after the Citizens Commission has drawn their maps will also be accepted during the Round 3 meetings in October. Information on map submissions can be found at redistricting.maryland.gov.
The U.S. Constitution places the Census at the foundation of our democracy by calling for a count of the nation’s residents every 10 years. The Census results determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the data is critical for drawing congressional, state, and local legislative districts.
Moreover, Census data drives billions of dollars in federal funding for education, health, transportation, housing, community services, and job training. Moreover, businesses and industries decide where to locate new facilities and services based on Census data, creating new jobs and promoting economic growth.
An accurate Census count has a lasting effect on counties, particularly regarding the distribution of federal funds. Conversely, an under-counted population may lead to a significant decline in federal funding flowing to county governments or county residents.
In Maryland, the General Assembly has principal authority to draw both congressional and state legislative district lines.
The governor, aided by an advisory commission, submits a state legislative redistricting proposal. The legislature may pass its own plan by joint resolution. If the legislature fails to approve its own plan, the governor’s plan takes effect. Congressional lines are drawn solely by the legislature.
On a recent episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson explain the significance of new 2020 Census data for state and local redistricting, break down the nuts and bolts of Maryland’s redistricting process, and detail key timelines in the scramble to draw new boundaries in time for next year’s midterm elections.
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