A redistricting committee appointed by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan will start reviewing proposed maps of the state’s legislative and congressional districts for the 2022 elections following 26 meetings in which the public gave input and submitted maps.
After reviewing all of the submitted maps, the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission will draw final maps that will be reviewed during public meetings set for every Wednesday in October at 6 p.m. Maryland residents are encouraged to register and provide comments on the proposed final maps. Meetings are available on Zoom and YouTube.
Most of the 28 maps submitted by the Sept. 24 deadline do not significantly change the boundaries of the 1st Congressional District which encompasses all nine Eastern Shore counties as well as parts of Harford and Baltimore counties. However, one proposal shifts to the west across the Chesapeake Bay into part of Anne Arundel County which is strongly Democratic. The 1st District is currently represented by U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican.
Some of the proposed maps also shift the boundaries of the Maryland Senate seats on the Lower Shore, while others keep the current lines more or less intact. Currently, the area is represented by state Sens. Mary Beth Carozza in District 38 and Addie Eckhardt in District 37, both Republicans.
Information about the committee, the proposed maps and upcoming meetings can be found at redistricting.maryland.gov.
While the Hogan-appointed Citizens Commission -- a nine-member panel evenly shared among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters – has been at work since May 5, a Democratic-controlled panel appointed by the General Assembly is also working on drawing new election district maps.
The Maryland General Assembly will have the final say over the state’s next set of congressional and legislative maps.
Members of both commissions face a recent history rife with gerrymandering and drawn-out legal action.
State Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore, and House Speaker Adrienne Jones, D-Baltimore County, announced the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission in July.
Karl Aro, former head of the Department of Legislative Services, chairs the Democrat-majority legislative commission.
Jones and Ferguson will also serve as members, along with Senate President Pro Tempore Melony Griffith, D-Prince George’s, House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, Senate Minority Leader Bryan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, and House Minority Leader Jason Buckel, R-Allegany.
Hogan, a Republican, established the Maryland Citizen Redistricting Commission by executive order in January.
He appointed three co-chairs to the commission: one Republican, one Democrat, and one unaffiliated voter.
The other six members went through a public application process and include two Republicans, two Democrats, and two unaffiliated voters.
Alex Williams, a former federal judge for the District of Maryland, is the commission’s Democratic co-chair.
Williams told Capital News Service he likes the balanced political makeup of the commission and said their goal is to be fair and independent.
“We have to abide and adhere to the governor’s order,” Williams said. “We are not to take into consideration a lot of the politics of the state.”
Williams was also co-chair of the Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission, which in 2015 recommended an independent redistricting commission as a response to previous partisan gerrymandering.
The 2011 map was championed by Maryland’s governor at the time, Martin O’Malley.