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SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Slay the Dragon Logo

SLAY THE DRAGON follows everyday people, outraged by what they see as an attack on the core democratic principle that every person’s vote should count equally. This election year, we’re joining together with grassroots partners to put an end to gerrymandering. Because this issue impacts each state differently, we’ve created a map to help you navigate how gerrymandering affects your state and community. SLAY THE DRAGON arrives on demand April 3.

 

GET CAUGHT UP

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

us map

Click on your state in the map above to find out what’s going on and how you can help.

We are partnering with organizations in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin to support the creation of non-partisan redistricting commissions to protect votes across the country.

Maryland

Process

State Legislative Districts

Maryland's state legislative districts are first drawn by the Governor and, typically, an advisory committee he appoints. The state Legislature can draw and adopt its own maps through a joint resolution, separate from the Governor's process and not subject to a gubernatorial veto. If the state Legislature fails to adopt its own plans within 45 days, the Governor's maps are adopted.

Congressional Districts

Maryland's congressional districts are drawn by the state Legislature by ordinary statute, and are subject to the Governor's veto. The Legislature can override vetoes with a three-fifths vote in each chamber.

Criteria

In addition to the federal requirements of one person, one vote and the Voting Rights Act, Maryland’s state constitution (Art. III § 4) requires that state legislative districts be compact, contiguous, and preserve political subdivisions. There are no state law requirements for drawing congressional districts. 

In 2010, Maryland passed the No Representation Without Population Act, ending the practice of prison gerrymandering and reassigning currently incarcerated populations to their last-known place of residence for the purpose of redistricting.

Public Input

Maryland’s state constitution requires public hearings before the Governor can submit district plans. In 2011, the Redistricting Advisory Committee held 13 hearings across the state between July and December. After the proposed congressional map was released in October, the committee accepted public comment. The Maryland Department of Planning also accepted citizen-submitted redistricting plans. A similar process is likely to occur in 2021.

Issues

Pitfalls

In 2021, redistricting will be done under split-party control. There will be no elections between now and redistricting. Democrats have legislative supermajorities, opening the possibility that they could override Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of a congressional map. However, a switch of four Senate votes or fifteen votes in the House of Delegates would bring Democrats below the supermajority threshold.

Census Delays

  • State legislative redistricting plan deadline: 45th day of the 2022 General Assembly session (or governor’s proposed maps will become law); possibly late February 2022 (Art. III § 5)
    • Draft plan deadline: 1st day of 2022 General Assembly; likely January 13
  • Congressional redistricting plan deadline: no statutory deadline

The Census Bureau may delay sending population data to states until as late as July 31, 2021. As Maryland has a late deadline for state legislative redistricting and no statutory deadline for congressional redistricting, along with later candidate filing deadlines, the data delay should have little to no impact.

Reform

In 2020, a number of bills were introduced in the Maryland General Assembly to enact redistricting criteria. PGP organized a coalition letter of state-level reform organizations in support of the Fair Maps Act, a bill which included protections for minorities and communities of interest. These criteria would have applied to both state legislative and congressional districts. The latter currently have no constitutional requirements. The Legislature adjourned before voting on the Act.

History

In 2011, Maryland Democrats drew a congressional gerrymander to take the Sixth Congressional District from Republicans. This was the subject of a high-profile test case before the Supreme Court, Benisek v. Lamone, in which the Court ultimately found partisan gerrymandering to be nonjusticiable in federal court.

There were many additional cases brought in both state and federal courts, citing violations of compactness, failure to respect communities of interest, unequal population, and partisan and racial gerrymandering. All challenges to legislative and congressional districts were ultimately dismissed or rejected.

Finally, there were lawsuits against the signatures and language of the Maryland Redistricting Referendum, a 2012 ballot measure that asked voters directly to support or oppose the Legislature’s congressional redistricting plan. These challenges were denied. Voters subsequently voted to approve the maps drawn by the Legislature.

Actions

In 2020, support state legislative candidates who favor fair districting.

In 2021, participate in the Legislature’s public input process.

  • During redistricting, weigh in with your Delegate or state Senator. Emphasize the importance of a bipartisan plan that reflects all Marylanders' priorities, and of working with the Governor.
  • Obtain Maryland redistricting data from OpenPrecincts.
  • Start to plan out what defines your community – whether it’s a shared economic interest, school districts, or other social or other cultural, historical, or economic interests – and how that can be represented on a map. This will come in handy once the advisory committee starts collecting feedback.
  • Use software tools such as Dave's Redistricting App and Districtr to draw district maps showing either (a) what a fair map would look like, or (b) where the community you believe should be better represented is located.

Read the Common Cause Activist Handbook on Redistricting Reform to learn about what reforms have been successful in the past, and what steps to take to enact reform in the future. While the deadline to change the constitutional process for this redistricting cycle has passed, it is never too early to plan and organize for reforms.

Contacts

Princeton Gerrymandering Project Data provided by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project

State Info

Congressional Boundaries: Drawn by legislature
State Boundaries: Drawn by governor and legislature
Legislative Control: Democratic
Governor's Political Party: Republican
Last Updated: Oct 13 2020