Fair Maps Maryland Announces Lawsuit Challenging Congressional Districts Based on Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering

Fair Maps Maryland Announces Lawsuit Challenging Congressional Districts Based on Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering
Unconstitutional Maps Suppress Marylanders’ Voting Rights, Ignore Overwhelming Support for Fair & Nonpartisan Redistricting Reform
Lawsuit Seeks Injunction Preventing Use of Illegal Congressional Map

**ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 23, 2021)—**Fair Maps Maryland, a nonpartisan grassroots organization, today announced that a group of Marylanders have filed suit in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to prevent the use, application, administration, or enforcement of unconstitutional and gerrymandered Congressional maps in Maryland. The lawsuit is being brought by a diverse group of plaintiffs made up of Marylanders from all eight Congressional districts. The claims of partisan gerrymandering are very similar to ones that have been made in other states and have found success, including in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Read the full lawsuit.

Maryland has a long and disgraceful history of partisan gerrymandering dating back decades, but it was most prominently displayed during the redistricting process that took place in 2010. During legal depositions and widely reported after the fact, former Governor Martin O’Malley and the legislative leaders at the time were forced to admit that they used their legal power to benefit their own political party and purposefully suppressed the votes of Marylanders to achieve that end. Under oath, former governor O’Malley stated the following: “As a governor, I held that redistricting pen in my own Democratic hand… I was convinced that we should use our political power to pass a map that was more favorable for the election of Democratic candidates.”

Maryland’s current legislative leaders have repeatedly confirmed during this most recent redistricting process the maps follow the same pattern as 2010 and maintain all current office holders in previous districts, while making the sole Republican district more competitive for Democratic candidates.

“The Maryland General Assembly created these illegal maps in dark backrooms and now they will be forced to defend them in a court of law,” said Doug Mayer, Fair Maps Maryland spokesman. “These Marylanders are victims of electoral corruption and blatant voter suppression, and this lawsuit is their only remedy to undo the damage the General Assembly has perpetuated against them for decades. The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission created by Governor Hogan proved that it is possible to remove partisan politics from this process and the legislature has proven once again that they only care about partisan power. Fair Maps Maryland will do everything possible to bring free and fair elections back to Maryland. As we said last week, the fight for voting rights in Maryland has only just begun.”

The lawsuit filed today in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court lists the defendants as Linda H. Lamone, Maryland State Administrator of Elections; William G. Voelp, chairman of the Maryland State Board of Elections; and The Maryland State Board of Elections.

The lawsuit includes four claims of partisan gerrymandering against the Congressional map (referred to in the lawsuit as the “2021 Plan”) passed by the General Assembly. These include:

I. Violation of Maryland’s Free Elections Clause (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 7)
II. Violation of Purity of Elections (Maryland Constitution, Article I, Section 7)
III. Violation of Equal Protection (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 24)
IV. Violation of Freedom of Speech (Maryland Declaration of Rights, Article 40)

The lawsuit seeks the following relief from the Court:

(a) Determine and declare that the 2021 Plan is unconstitutional and invalid because it violates the rights of Plaintiffs under Articles 7, 24, and 40 of Maryland’s Declaration of Rights and violates the General Assembly’s obligation to pass laws ensuring the purity of elections under Article I, Section 7 of Maryland’s Constitution;

(b) Enjoin the Defendants, their agents, officers, and employees from using, applying, administering, or enforcing the 2021 Plan in any future election in Maryland, including but not limited to the 2022 primary and general elections for Congress;

© Order Defendants to delay, postpone, or suspend candidate filing deadlines until such time as the Maryland General Assembly enacts a congressional districting plan that complies with the Maryland Constitution and Declaration of Rights; and

(d) Award such other and further relief to as the Court deems just, appropriate, necessary, or proper.

The lawfirm McAllister, DeTar, Showalter & Walker will serve as lead counsel.

In addition to supporting his case at the state level, Fair Maps Maryland continues to explore cases in federal court in relation to violations of the Voting Rights Act.


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