On Tuesday, November 3 the Governor’s Redistricting Reform Commission in Maryland finalized its recommendations for reforming Maryland’s rigged redistricting process. The plan is a bold proposal based on best practices from states across the nation, and if adopted as proposed would certainly take the politics out of the process.
Governor Hogan and the members of his Redistricting Reform Commission invested a significant time commitment to the citizens of Maryland. Through five Regional Meetings and hours of workgroup deliberations, the Commission was thoughtful and has put forth a strong recommendation to improve the way election districts are drawn in this state.
The Commission included the following recommendations in their final proposal:
- District lines should be compact, contiguous, and respect county and municipal lines.
- Both congressional and state legislative districts should be drawn by an independent commission.
- The independent commission should be politically diverse, including three from the majority party, three from the minority party, and three members from neither political party. The applicants will go through a screening process and final members will be drawn through a lottery. Elected officials, candidates, lobbyists, and political staff are prohibited from serving.
- The commission will draw lines without regard to party affiliation or incumbent residency. The commission will hold “ample” public hearings on the proposed plan.
- The legislature may reject the map through a supermajority vote.
- State legislative districts shall be far more consistent in size. Districts must be within 1% variance in population (as opposed to the current 5%) and there should be consistency between single-member or three-member delegate districts.
The public’s frustration has been palpable at every hearing on this issue. The Commission took advantage of this unique opportunity to fix our rigged system by thinking big and thinking bold, and getting the insider politics out of our redistricting process. Now we’re looking to Gov. Hogan and the legislature to turn these proposals into the law.
The Commission’s report is available here.