General Assembly Continues to Keep Marylanders in the Dark On Redistricting

General Assembly Continues to Keep Marylanders in the Dark On Redistricting

At start of special session, legislature fails to produce substantive records or insight into map creation

**ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 6, 2021)—**Fair Maps Maryland, the nonpartisan organization dedicated to the abolition of partisan gerrymandering in Maryland, today released the records received from the Public Information Act request that the organization submitted to the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission in October. In the request, Fair Maps Maryland called on the Commission to provide any and all information that “will educate the public concerning the methods and processes used by the General Assembly in creating the maps that will be considered and that may become the Congressional and Legislative Districts of all Marylanders.” Rather than providing much-needed transparency and insight into their deliberations, the Commission hid behind legislative privilege and neglected to produce any records of substance; the records received largely consist of public meeting materials, citizen testimony, and logistical correspondences.

“The only thing transparent about this commission has been their systematic efforts to keep Marylanders in the dark and out of the redistricting process,” said Fair Maps Maryland spokesman Doug Mayer. “From sham public meetings, to creating a convoluted, ten-plus step process to testify on redistricting—they have done everything possible to limit public input. There is not a citizen in this state or a member of the media who really knows how this map was created or the political operatives who influenced the process and that is a major problem.

“Fair Maps Maryland remains committed to finally ending Maryland’s shameful legacy of gerrymandering and voter suppression and will continue to press for the legislature to accept and adopt the maps produced by the non-partisan Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission.”

Below are links to the original request and the response received from the legislature:

The original request, directed to Senate President Bill Ferguson, House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Department of Legislative Services Executive Director Victoria Gruber, and the 2021 Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission Chair Karl Aro, reflected widespread public criticism of the commission for its lack of transparency and failure to release draft maps for public comment. The commission’s secretive conduct is in direct opposition to the promises made by General Assembly leadership to Marylanders when they committed to releasing maps in a timely fashion and engaging meaningfully with the public.

In recent weeks, the legislature’s redistricting commission’s repeated failures to include the public and conduct this process in a transparent manner has raised concerns from good government organizations including Maryland’s chapter of Common Cause. In addition, the final map produced by the legislature was given an “F” grade by the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project, which had previously given the Maryland Citizen Redistricting Commission maps top marks.

-###-

Tags
Share this post: