BALTIMORE COUNTY — A Federal judge approved Baltimore County Council’s new redistricting map on Thursday.
The Plaintiffs in the Redistricting litigation sought an injunction to prevent the County from conducting future elections under the Council’s 2021 Redistricting Plan.
The judge granted the Plaintiffs’ motion and ordered the County to file a new Redistricting Plan. As part of the Order, the Court directed the County to “adopt a redistricting map that ... includes ... an additional County District in which Black voters otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice and that comports with the requirements of the Voting Rights Act ... and any other relevant constitutional and statutory requirements, by March 8, 2022.”
“All we were asking for is a level playing field, and I am disappointed that the court did not level the playing field," said Anthony Fugett, a plaintiff and voter. The County Council continues to pack District 4 with over 64% Black voters, which leaves white voters in the majority in District 2. That means white voters in District 2 will continue to have veto power over the desires of Black voters, despite the west side of Baltimore County being majority Black. That speaks volumes to me, and I hope that speaks volumes to all of my neighbors.”
The Baltimore County Council submitted a new Redistricting Plan to the Court that included a Redistricting Map that maintains “an important majority-minority district in District 1, maintains a strong 61% majority-Black district in District 4, and creates a new majority-minority district in District 2. Significantly, the Black population in District 2 increases to over 41%, the white population decreases to 45%, and no demographic constitutes a 50+% majority,” according to a press release.
The Court agreed with the Council’s premise that the newly-constituted District 2 enhances the already- existing “coalition” and “cross-over” voting to enable Black citizens a meaningful opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice, while also keeping District 4 at a substantial Black majority to enable Black voters in that district to continue to elect a candidate of their choice,” a press release said.
“On behalf of my Council colleagues, we are very satisfied the Court recognized the commitment to diversity and hard work of the Council in approving our latest Redistricting Plan,” said Baltimore County Council Chairman Julian E. Jones, Jr. “As we have seen all over the country recently, redistricting is an extremely difficult process, and my colleagues and I worked together in crafting a Map that was acceptable to the Court, while also staying true to the will of our communities.”
Mr. Jones stated further, “I am especially gratified that the Map Judge Griggsby approved today offers Black and other minority candidates a more level playing field and provides better opportunities to get elected than ever before in this County’s history.”
The Plaintiff's legal team released a statement:
“While the revised map that Baltimore County has now proposed is better, better is not enough to fulfill the racial justice requirements of the Voting Rights Act. The facts remain that the County has almost one-third Black voters and almost half Voters of Color, and yet six out of seven council districts will continue to have majority white voters. How can that be fair? It’s not. We are considering our next steps. Our commitment to the rights of Baltimore County voters remains firm.”