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Lawsuit challenges Maryland's newly passed legislative redistricting map

Posted at 4:16 PM, Feb 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 18:50:01-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A lawsuit was filed Thursday challenging Maryland's newly passed legislative redistricting map.

Fair Maps Maryland, a nonpartisan grassroots organization, alleges the redrawn maps are illegal and unfairly gerrymandered towards Democrats.

The petition argues that state level districts 7, 9, 12, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 31, 33, 42, and 47 are unconstitutional “because they are not contiguous or compact and/or do not give due regard to natural boundaries and the boundaries of political subdivisions.”

RELATED: Maryland lawmakers approve new map for General Assembly Seats

The complaint also alleges that the maps specifically violate the following state laws.

1. Violation of Anti-Gerrymandering Clause (Maryland Constitution, Article 3, Section 4)
2. Violation of Maryland’s Free Elections Clause (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 7)
3. Violation of Equal Protection (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 24)
4. Violation of Freedom of Speech (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 40)
5. Violation of Purity of Elections (Maryland Constitution, Article 1, Section 7)

“State courts across the country, from North Carolina to Ohio, are taking actions and shooting down obviously gerrymandered maps—and Maryland is next,” said Fair Maps Maryland spokesman Doug Mayer. “For decades, the Maryland General Assembly has done everything in their power to control who wins, who loses, and who gets power, but that time is coming to an end. Voters rightfully hold that power, not politicians wheeling and dealing in backrooms. "

Mayer hopes the court declares the maps unconstitutional and orders the General Assembly to redraw new legislative maps.

A similar challenge was filed in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in December to prevent the implementation of a new congressional district map passed by the General Assembly during a Special Session late last year. Those maps would affect how Maryland residents vote for their representatives in the United States Congress.

MORE: Governor Larry Hogan vetoes congressional map

On Friday, Fair Maps Maryland released the following statement from spokesman Doug Mayer in response to the Maryland Court of Appeals extension of the state’s official candidate filing deadline from February 22, 2022 to March 22, 2022.

“The leadership of the Maryland General Assembly might not take the dangers of gerrymandering seriously, but the Court of Appeals does—and that spells trouble for the entrenched Annapolis powerbrokers. Today’s announcement is a clear sign that our legal challenges will be heard in the coming weeks and that free and fair elections could soon be a reality in Maryland.

“Marylanders are sick and tired of being told that there is nothing wrong or unusual about their electoral districts when their own eyes tell a very different story. There is only so much political subterfuge that voters will stand for, and now the state’s highest court is going to test the legal limits of this decades-long deception.”