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Back to the drawing board

Challenge to proposed Baltimore County redistricting map
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Posted at 3:34 PM, Oct 12, 2021

TOWSON, Md. — For the first time in its history, Baltimore County’s white population dropped over the last decade by 68,000 people, while its Black population grew to over a quarter of a million.

Why then, under a proposed redistricting map, would it still only have one Black-majority district?

That’s what Senator Delores Kelley, among others, wants to know.

“To pack a significant African-American population into one district and to dilute the impact of their vote is simply immoral as well as illegal,” said Kelley.

It is a concern echoed by Senator Charles Sydnor who points out whites now barely outnumber non-whites in the county.

“If our county council reflected the county demographically, we would have 3.62 white county members and 3.38 BIPOC council people,” said Sydnor. “However, the redistricting commission unanimously approved a proposal that ignores these changes.”

The county council has until the end of January to adopt a map, and Council Chair Julian Jones says the numbers don’t tell the entire story.

Those who redrew the map also had to consider keeping districts compact and similar in size, while respecting existing communities, and with the exception of one existing district, African-American residents are spread throughout the rest of the county.

“When you say, ‘This is the population of Baltimore County’, you’ve taken all of them into account, yet you can’t roll them into this district or they’re not close enough to produce a second district,” explained Jones.

Jones has pledged the full council will review the proposed map and any possible changes in public hearings before any final decision is made.

If the county accepts the proposed map, opponents have pledged to take it to court.