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.