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MD Legislators to vote on redistricting to correct gerrymandering in December

Posted at 5:29 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 18:14:56-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Maryland is known as one of the most gerrymandered states in the country but lawmakers will vote to change that in December.

On the table for legislators are two redistricting maps that could change the political lean of one of the states eight Congressional districts.

Tuesday night, the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission voted 4-2 on their recommendation to the General Assembly for a special session vote on December 6.

Among the changes, this map would move Cecil, parts of Anne Arundel and southern Harford counties to District 1.

District 7 would be Baltimore centered, a majority African American district.

The commissions four Democrats voted in favor, saying it balances the population of each district while decreasing the amount of gerrymandering from the current map.

“It’s significantly more contiguous and significantly more compact,” said Sen. President Bill Ferguson.

It would create more competitive congressional districts along metro areas and interstate corridors.

“People don’t live in county lines. They don’t work in county lines. People shop across lines. They take their kids to camp across lines. They take their parents to hospitals across lines. What matters is connections between communities,” said Del. Eric Luedtke.

Their goal was to try to keep as many people in their current districts as possible.

“To try to keep as many voters in their district as we can, what we’re doing is we’re saying ultimately the voters should have the choice of whether to keep or get rid of their current congressman. Not some commission but the voters themselves,” said Luedtke.

Both Republicans on the Democrat-majority commission voted against it, saying it doesn’t go far enough to get rid of gerrymandering.

“It was the political parties that were advancing these maps, not the voice of the people,” said Sen. Bryan Simonaire.

Simonaire instead supports the map recommended by the governor-backed Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission that more closely follows county lines.

“There’s no perfect map, let’s just put that out there, but I think a 4th grader could look at the two different maps and say which one looks fairer,” said Simonaire.

According to ABC News’ FiveThirtyEight, it would create a second Republican-leaning seat, whereas the current and lawmaker proposed maps have only one Republican-leaning seat.

“If you look over the last two decades, Marylanders have voted for a Republican governor 60% of the time. It’s not just about party registration, but the way they gerrymander these maps, they’re trying to get eight Democrats, which is not fair to the people of Maryland,” said Simonaire.

The Citizens Commission was made up of three Republicans, three Democrats and three Independents.

Simonaire said any legislator has the right to submit their own recommendation, but he assumes these two will be the main maps being considered.

Other changes in the legislative map include:

• District 2 is no longer in Harford county, and includes Baltimore City, Baltimore County and some of northern Anne Arundel County.
• District 3 includes portions of Baltimore, Harford, Howard and small portion of Carroll County.
• District 4 includes southern Montgomery county.
• District 5 is all of southern Maryland and central PG County, including College Park.
• District 6 includes more Frederick County and western Montgomery County.
• District 8 includes most of Carroll County.