Md. legislators advance redistricted map to a vote
MARYLAND – Maryland is making progress in redrawing its Congressional district maps.
Monday, members of the House Rules Committee voted to advance the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission’s map. Currently, Maryland’s Congressional delegation is comprised of seven Democrats and one Republican.
In the Commission’s map, parts of Harford and Anne Arundel Counties are included in District 1, which largely covers the Eastern Shore. Committee members who voted in favor of the map argue that the map represents communities’ common interests.
“I believe this is the better option, and the best option for us to go with, to ensure that we meet the numbers and make sure there’s a balance in each Congressional district. But at the same time, we’re looking at the continuity of the culture as well,” said Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes.
Speaker Pro Tem Hughes also points out that only 40 percent of district one would change.
“There were modifications based on where we are ten years later, and where we need to be,” she said. “With that being said, that 60% unchanged speaks volumes. It would also speak volumes if we didn’t change anything and if we continued to do nothing.”
However, others argue that the other map, which was drawn by Governor Larry Hogan’s Citizens Redistricting Commission, is more fair. Commission members say they wanted to come up with a proposal that would fight gerrymandering. That’s because historically, Maryland is one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation.
“It’s a clear difference in the lines. One is very natural and other, you can just see they’re pulling groups from here and there, making up districts, and piecemealing them together for a goal to maximize the majority party to take more of the representation,” said Delegate Wayne Hartman.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave the citizens’ redistricting commission map an “A” grade when it comes to fairness. But, the Project gave the General Assembly’s map a grade of “F”. The Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission’s map is now on its way to the House for a vote during this week’s special session.