Common Cause Maryland to advocate for second majority minority district in draft plans
Today, Common Cause Maryland will urge the Baltimore County Council to update draft redistricting plans to more accurately reflect the county’s rapidly growing diversity at a virtual Councilmanic Redistricting Hearing at 6:00 p.m. ET. Common Cause will urge the council to create a second minority majority district to reflect the 2020 Census population data showing Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities make up 47 percent of Baltimore County.
The hearing is open to the public and the media.
The following is prepared testimony that Common Cause Maryland Policy and Engagement Manger Morgan Drayton will deliver at the hearing.
“Common Cause Maryland urges the Baltimore County Council to create a new redistricting plan that fully considers the rights of Black and Brown residents in the electoral process in accordance with the Voting Rights Act. As explained by the ACLU of Maryland in their open letter to the Redistricting Commission, the Act requires election systems to be designed so that voters within a cohesive racial minority are afforded the same effective and realistic opportunity to elect officials of their choice as the white majority, to the extent proportional to their numbers in the overall population. Section 2 of the Act prohibits the use of voting practices that are purposefully discriminatory, as well as those that “result” in discrimination.
Though our most recent Census data shows that Baltimore County is now made up of 47% BIPOC residents (up from 35% in 2010), the County Council is currently considering approving the Commission’s proposed map that would result in six out of seven districts remaining majority white. This would not only infringe on county residents’ freedom to elect leaders that are truly representative of their population for a generation, but also constitute clear racial discrimination in violation of the Act.
Drawing on data submitted to the County Council by our coalition partners, Common Cause Maryland is firmly in the belief that there is enough BIPOC representation in the county to warrant the creation of a second majority minority district. As demonstrated by materials submitted by the ACLU of Maryland, NAACP Baltimore County, NAACP Randallstown and Indivisible Towson using the same Census data as the commission, an equitable redistricting plan would give BIPOC voters control of at least two Baltimore County Council seats while also meeting requirements of the Voting Rights Act.
Equal minority representation is needed in each district for distributive and social justice. In light of Baltimore County’s long history of racial inequality, especially when it comes to equal and effective government representation, it is imperative that the County Council take action to ensure that BIPOC county residents are afforded realistic opportunities to participate in the electoral process and to elect the candidates of their choice.
Baltimore County currently has an opportunity to fairly reflect its diversifying population, put voters’ interests first, and to help ensure that the people choose their elected representatives, rather than the other way around. Common Cause Maryland urges the Council to consider the comments and criticisms of those opposing the Redistricting Commission Report and go back to the drawing board to create maps that reflect to the greatest extent possible the overall diversity of the county and comport fully to the requirements of the Voting Rights Act.”
To register and attend the hearing, click here.