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Lawmakers Oppose New Congressional District Map

The map is "so blatantly gerrymandered that District 3 looks like blood spatter from a crime scene," Montgomery County Council member Phil Andrews said.

Maryland's new U.S. congressional district map—approved during a General Assembly special session last fall—has been met with enough criticism to make it the subject of a referendum question on the Nov. 6 ballot. 

As Election Day draws near, opponents of the new boundaries are making their opinions heard.

On Monday, more than two dozen elected state, county and city officials and community leaders met in Rockville to oppose the state's new congressional map and to urge voters to repeal it on Nov. 6 by voting against Question No. 5 on the ballot, according to the office of Montgomery County Council member Phil Andrews. 

"Maryland's new congressional map is so blatantly gerrymandered that District 3 looks like blood spatter from a crime scene, ridiculously including the far-flung communities of Annapolis, Towson and parts of Silver Spring, while excluding most communities between," Andrews said in a statement.

Check out our explanation of the District 6 and 8 boundaries between Bethesda and Potomac.

In addition to Andrews and other County Council members, including Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin, Nancy Floreen, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer, those in attendance included State Delegates Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-Montgomery) and Aisha Braveboy (D-Prince George’s); Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio; Rockville City Council Members Tom Moore, Bridget Newton and Mark Pierzchala; Gaithersburg City Council Members Jud Ashman, Cathy Drzyzgula and Henry Marraffa; and Takoma Park City Council Member Seth Grimes.

Delegates Gutierrez and Aisha Braveboy, along with Montgomery Delegates Al Carr and Luis Simmons, voted against the congressional map in last October’s special session, the news release said.

If a majority of voters vote "no" on (i.e., oppose) Question 5, Gov. Martin O'Malley and the Maryland General Assembly will be required to redraw the state's U.S. congressional boundaries for the 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections. A "no" vote could also lead to the establishment of an independent redistricting commission, the statement added.

The redistricting (as the district boundaries' redrawing is called) was required following the 2010 U.S. Census. 

At Monday's gathering, Gutierrez presented figures showing that the minority population in new congressional Districts 3, 6 and 8 would be severely reduced.

"Rather than promoting increased opportunities for minority congressional representation, the redistricting map fragments and redistributes minority populations," Gutierrez said in a statement. "In each new district, minority proportional representation is so diminished as to make it nearly impossible to elect minority candidates in Congress over the next 10 years."

Others in attendance included Greg Rabidoux, a national redistricting expert with Common Cause of Maryland; Democratic precinct chairs Michael Cogan, Sheldon Fishman, Margaret Greene and Steve Shapiro; businessman/philanthropist Josh Rales; and community leaders Art Brodsky and Michael Lin.

Do you agree with the new U.S. congressional district boundaries for Maryland? Tell us in the comments.

Richard Boltuck October 16, 2012 at 04:44 PM
For goodness sake, people, vote *against* Question No. 5! Gerrymandered districts are UNDEMOCRATIC -- and reportedly, Maryland's new districts are the most gerrymandered in the country. They are an exercise in legislative arrogance and cynicism whereby politicians are selecting their preferred voters rather than voters selecting their preferred elected officials. I live in the new District 8 in west Bethesda. If someone lives in Frederick, they are in District 6. But if they live NORTH of Frederick, all the way to Pennsylvania, they are in District 8 -- the same as me. Obviously, that makes no geographic sense, connecting south MoCo with large blotches of Frederick and Carroll counties. So why did otherwise seemingly intelligent legislators do it? They did it to take dominantly Republican voters in sparsely populated rural Maryland and divide them up among districts constructed with dense populations of dominantly Democratic voters who outnumber them. That denies them the opportunity to vote with their neighbors and pull together a majority for the candidate of their choice. The same is true of several other newly drawn districts. Regardless of whether you're a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or something else, that's wrong and against American ideals. Let's reject it in November and force the legislature back to the drawing board -- and see whether finally, our legislators have any sense of shame.

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