What is redistricting and Fair Maps?
The process of redistricting occurs every 10 years following the decennial Census. Once the most recent Census concluded in October 2020 and the data finalized and made available by the U.S. Census Bureau, planning for the redistricting of Maryland gets underway. Redistricting affects who represents you locally and nationally. Our current lines were created with the process of gerrymandering, redrawing electoral districts to gain an electoral advantage for a political party.
The process has been changed with the addition of the MCRC, Maryland Citizen Redistricting Committee. Fair maps are the boundaries that separate congressional and legislative district lines. Drawing fair maps helps communities stay together. One example is that while Baltimore County is its own region when meeting with the Maryland Citizens' Redistricting Committee, MCRC, Baltimore Ciy is mixed in with Howard and Anne Arundel counties. Breaking up areas of underserved communities and mixing with areas that do not share the same needs is unfair, and impacts health, education, finance, and so much more.
"Fair maps" and "Fair Maps" are not the same thing.
- "Fair maps" are reasonably compact and follow physical boundaries (like rivers) and political boundaries (like city/county lines) as much as possible. Lines are not drawn in a way to favor or disfavor a particular political party or a particular ethnic or racial group.
- "Fair Maps" is short-hand for the Fair Maps Act, which is designed to make redistricting less susceptible to gerrymandering and to help ensure that everyone's voices are heard. A key component is establishment of an independent redistricting commission to replace our politician-run system.
- "People Powered Fair Maps" is a program of LWVUS that includes the Fair Maps Act. You describe this very well at the end.
What is new in 2021?
On February 12th, the USCB released an announcement that the data used for redistricting will be distributed to the states by September 30th. Once the data is received, it must be adjusted in compliance with Maryland law to have incarcerated individuals reallocated to their last known address. This is required at the local and municipal level as well as the congressional and state level.
Where and when does redistricting occur?
In Baltimore County, hearings are scheduled for each county council district. Currently, meetings are online. The schedule is posted at https://redistricting.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx
How are Baltimore County residents involved?
Baltimore County residents are invited to participate in our County Council Redistricting Process. Based upon the forthcoming 2020 census data, legislative bodies, including the County Council, will redistrict in accordance with their jurisdictional requirements. The Baltimore County Redistricting process is an almost year-long process, beginning in March 2021 and ending officially in January 2022. More information is on the County website, https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/countycouncil/redistricting.html. Please send all emails to [email protected]
Commission members are:
- James Almon, assistant county attorney for Carroll County who served as Senior Legislative Advisor to Councilwoman Cathy Bevins from 2016-2019
- Robert E. Latshaw Jr., who owns Latshaw Real Estate Group and is chairman of the Baltimore Count Baltimore County Economic Development Commission and the Greater Baltimore Economic Forum
- Sophia Montgomery, sales director for Country Inn & Suites for Radisson and Baltimore North, and president of the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce
- Samuel Neuberger, director with Klein Enterprises real estate firm
- Aaron Plymouth, retired public school educator with 42 years of experience, president emeritus of Stevenswood Improvement Association, Inc., chair of the Combined Communities Advocacy Council of Greater Randallstown, Inc., and chair of the Baltimore County School Board Nominating Commission.
What is the MCRC, Maryland Citizen's Redistricting Committee?
On January 12, 2021, Governor Hogan issued an Executive Order forming the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Commission is charged with revising the congressional and legislative district lines in a fair and impartial manner. Governor Hogan appointed the chairs of the Commission who will proceed accordingly with the charge of the Executive Order. This includes expanding the Commission with additional members to include applicants from the public who can apply online to serve. Several public hearings for input and feedback will be held prior to the district lines being drawn. Members of the public will also be able to submit map recommendations electronically in acceptable formats after data is returned from the U.S. Census Bureau and adjusted in accordance with Maryland law which requires that all incarcerated individuals be reallocated back to their last known address prior to incarceration.
Why are LWVU United States, LWV Maryland, LWV Baltimore County involved?
Free and fair elections are the foundations of our democracy. People powered fair maps begins this process.
We believe that:
- A state redistricting process and standards that promote fair and effective representation in the state legislature and House of Representatives with maximum opportunity for public scrutiny.
- An independent commission as the preferred redistricting body. The membership of the redistricting commission should be multi-partisan, include unaffiliated voters, be geographically representative and not include any current state elected official.
- Standards on which the redistricting plan is based should include substantially equal population, geographic contiguity, and geographic compactness.
- Final approval by the General Assembly for the legislative and Congressional redistricting plans. An amendment to the Maryland Constitution affirming that the redistricting process for the House of Representatives should occur only once each ten years after the census.
- An amendment to the Maryland Constitution affirming that the redistricting process for the House of Representatives should occur only once every ten years after the census.
What can I do? How can I stay up-to-date?
Stay up-to-date with Redistricting News and let the Maryland Citizens' Redistricting Commission know where you stand. Participate in hearings and let your voice be heard! Sign up for to receive alerts.
What does my map look like?
Congressional Districts Map (Federal Level Representatives)
Legislative Districts Interactive Map (State Level Representatives)