It’s bad for Maryland, bad for America, and bad for democracy. Everyone knows this, but unfortunately, almost everyone in elected office supports it in one way or another. Gerrymandering is a bipartisan problem. Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of perpetuating it and have been for decades. While the problem is over 200 years old, it has grown exponentially worse as technological advancements have allowed politicians to redraw congressional and legislative districts with pinpoint, laser accuracy. The consequences have been devastating. Electoral districts are now more partisan, less competitive, and less diverse than ever and the political outcomes follow the exact same pattern.
1.) Educate Marylanders about gerrymandering and why it is so bad for our Democracy and our country.
2.) Make sure Marylanders know how the redistricting process works and how gerrymandering has disenfranchised voters here for decades.
3.) Promote the work of the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission and encourage the Maryland General Assembly to accept the new maps the commission creates.
Most states suffer from gerrymandering, but some suffer from it more than others. Maryland falls into the latter category. A federal delegation that was once evenly split between Republicans and Democrats just 20 year ago, is now a 7 to 1 split. Notably, this massive change in representation also took place during a time when Marylanders elected two Republican governors in three different elections.
The redistricting that took place in 2010 made a mockery of voting rights, and has produced districts that are some of the worst in the nation. Maryland’s 3rd District is consistently recognized as a prime example of gerrymandering and the absurdities it creates.
Governor Hogan is the first governor in Maryland history to forcefully speak out and take action against gerrymandering and has made numerous attempts to get the Maryland legislature to pass a non-partisan redistricting commission into law. While many legislators will readily acknowledge that gerrymandering is bad and that voting is a civil rights issue, most refuse to do anything about it.
Maryland now has an opportunity to return its districts to common-sense shapes and sizes. Sticking to his commitment to free and fair elections, Governor Hogan has ordered the creation of the new maps by an independent, non-partisan commission. However, that doesn’t guarantee that the Maryland General Assembly will accept the new maps. And that is where our work begins.
Fair Maps Maryland, a group formed by a pair of former lawmakers to support maps proposed by the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, submitted a sweeping public records request aimed at the General Assembly’s Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission on Thursday, according to a press release from the group.read more