Maryland is one of the two most gerrymandered states and is home to the most gerrymandered district in America. The Washington Post has called Maryland “comically gerrymandered” and labeled its congressional districts “highly partisan and racially charged.”
Leading the Grassroots Fight
as part of the Tame the Gerrymander coalition, Common Cause Maryland has led a creative effort to bring attention to the problem of unfair representation in the General Assembly and among Maryland’s congressional delegation. Thanks to the coalition’s efforts, Gov. Larry Hogan created the Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission, a group of citizens assigned to recommend a new approach to redistricting that puts the needs of the people over the needs of politicians. The Commission, which included Common Cause Maryland board member Michael Goff, recommended the creation of an independent citizen commission to draw districts using objective and nonpartisan criteria in a transparent process. See the Commission’s recommendations here.
We are keeping up the pressure to pass these reforms through the legislature.
Benisek v. Lamone (formerly Shapiro v. McManus)
Marylanders scored an important victory in the U.S. Supreme Court when the Court ruled unanimously that law student Steve Shapiro's First Amendment challenge to Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional districts must have its day in court. Previously, a trial judge threw out the case without allowing it to be heard by a three-judge panel, as is required in most challenges to redrawn maps. Shapiro, the original plaintiff, is an active Common Cause Maryland volunteer. Common Cause submitted an amicus brief supporting his view that the state’s congressional districts violate the First Amendment rights of Maryland residents. Hear Common Cause’s teleconference previewing oral arguments and read our attorney’s take on how they went.
Now the case is back in the Supreme Court. Go to our Benisek v. Lamone home page. On March 28, 2018, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could end partisan gerrymandering in the United States.
The case is likely to go to trial soon. Common Cause Maryland and our national redistricting team remain active participants supporting the plaintiffs
Tame the Gerrymander Events
Some of the coalition’s recent events spotlighting the problem of gerrymandering in Maryland include:
You can find information on Common Cause Maryland’s redistricting reform efforts on the Common Cause Maryland website or by contacting Common Cause Maryland Interim Executive Director Damon Effingham.
Maryland ranks among the worst in the nation for how we draw our congressional and legislative district lines. Our current plan has been called "comically gerrymandered." Gerrymandering stacks the deck in elections, breeds voter apathy, and contributes to an increasingly partisan and gridlocked Congress.
Gerrymandering undermines democracy. Let’s change the process in Maryland.
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Posted on Feb 7 at 12:00 AM