ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – A new congressional map for Maryland’s eight U.S. House of Representatives seats moved closer to final passage on Wednesday, with supporters calling it an improvement on the long-criticized map. is gerrymandering, and opponents say it’s still unfairly drawn in favor of Democrats – and may even endanger the state’s sole Republican congressman.
The Maryland Senate Enhancement Act that outlined new boundaries was passed by the Maryland House of Representatives. The senators will vote the following Wednesday.
Outside the Maryland State Building, redistricting reform advocates rallied to demand changes to the way maps are drawn, with an open registration process for citizens serving on redistricting committees. areas where members will be chosen by a non-politician.
Nancy Soreng, co-chair of the Federation of Women Voters of Maryland.
Democrats, with a majority in both houses of the General Assembly, control redistricting in the state.
The senators rejected an amendment that could replace a proposal supported by Republican Governor Larry Hogan. Instead, they are moving forward with a map approved by a committee of six legislative leaders including four Democrats and two Republicans.
Hogan, whose proposal was created by a council of citizens he appointed made up of three Democrats, three Republicans and three Independents, has said he would veto a map that he considers it unfair. However, Democrats have the three-fifths majority they will need to veto.
Democrats say the map they support will improve on the current one, making counties more compact and contiguous while continuing their commitment to diverse representation.
Sen. Melony Griffith, a Prince George County Democrat who is on the legislature’s committee, noted that the map was drawn up after 10 public in-person hearings with comments. contributions from residents around the state, as well as two virtual hearings.
“We have tried to balance the information we receive by using the tools we have at our disposal to come up with a map that meets the legal requirement and allows interested communities to stay with each other and are represented by the people they choose to represent,” said Griffith.
But Republicans say it remains heavily criticized, in that lines are drawn in favor of one political party and could threaten the state’s sole Republican in Congress.
Some of the most closely watched changes affect Congressional District 1, which includes the East Coast and is now represented by Republican Representative Andy Harris. The change to what is now a strongly Republican district will add enough registered Democrats to outnumber Republicans, although the area will still be competitive. .
Senator Mary Beth Carozza, an East Coast Republican, described the map favored by Democrats as one “where you see dominance that’s going to really affect East Coast representation.” She said lawmakers were moving forward “with a partisan map” and urged them to support the governor’s proposal.
“The people of Maryland have made it clear that they do not want a gerrymandered map, and what is disappointing and frustrating going through this process is that we have the opportunity this week at the Maryland General Assembly to break the cycle of gerrymandered maps,” said Carozza.
Politicians across the US this year have been fearsome – luring districts to rally opposition party voters into a few counties or split them up into multiple counties to dilute their influence. Republicans have done so in states like North Carolina and Texas and Democrats have done it in Illinois and Oregon.
https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2021/12/08/maryland-senate-advances-new-congressional-map/ Maryland Senate Advances New Congressional Map – CBS Baltimore