This week, per Governor Larry Hogan’s executive order, the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission released final proposed drafts of the congressional, legislative, and state senate maps and public review.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the governor’s executive order charges the commission with producing fair maps for both state legislative and congressional districts that comply with a set of criteria, including:
- Complies with U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act of 1965
- Respects natural boundaries and geographic integrity
- Does not take into account voters’ party affiliation
The commission, which is made up of nine members — three Democrats, three Republicans, and three Independents — is co-chaired by Judge Alexander Williams (D), Walter Olson (R), and Dr. Kathleen Hetherington (I).
In Maryland, the General Assembly has primary 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, which is not subject to a gubernatorial veto. If the legislature fails to approve its own plan, the governor’s plan takes effect. Congressional lines are drawn solely by the legislature and may be vetoed by the governor.
According to the Maryland Citizen’s Redistricting Commission:
We are encouraging the public to again submit their own map recommendations during the third round. We have left time at the end of this last round to modify the maps as appropriate.The Citizens Commission has held a total of 32 open public meetings, with all meetings involving public testimony available on Zoom and YouTube, which can be found here. The public meetings have provided live Spanish translation through partnership with the University of Maryland Spanish Department. The meetings also offer closed-captioning for the hearing impaired. Information for each of the meetings, including maps, agendas, video recordings, and transcripts can be found on our website at redistricting.maryland.gov.
In addition to more than 3,611 citizens attending one of the virtual meetings, the Commission’s social media posts have resulted in more than 45,138 impressions on Twitter and a reach of more than 80,818 views on Facebook. Our meeting notifications are sent out via press release to more than 46,000 email contacts, including local, county, and state officials, and many other organizations including the media, MACo, and MML. Our promotional materials have been translated in Spanish and distributed to the Latino community by our Hispanic advisor.
We are continuing to engage the community and urging their participation in this very open, public, and transparent process. We will finalize our Commission’s map plans and present them to you for your consideration. You can expect these final map recommendations by early November. We truly believe they will be inclusive and representative of our diverse communities and people, and we look forward to seeing them approved by the Maryland General Assembly.
In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering challenges to electoral maps are political questions and thus beyond the reach of the federal courts, dismissing challenges by voters in Maryland and North Carolina.
The ruling held that Maryland did not have to redraw congressional election districts before the 2020 elections. Instead, the maps must be redrawn in time for the 2022 elections, following 2020 United States Census data.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.
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