Yesterday evening, the Maryland Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission released four draft Congressional maps. The Commission committed to releasing draft maps by November 15 after Common Cause Maryland and partners called for greater transparency in the map drawing process. The maps were released earlier than expected with interactive maps, providing the public with ample time to provide input as the Commission wraps up its listening tour and prepares for special session.
Statement of Joanne Antoine, Common Cause Maryland Executive Director
We commend the Commission for responding to calls for greater transparency in the mapmaking process. They have shifted to more accessible regional hearings times, confirmed the dates for special session, and have now released draft congressional maps earlier than expected. These steps continue to ensure the process is participatory and sets us on path to finalize maps in time for the 2022 elections.
We also applaud the Commission for releasing more than one map concept with interactive maps. This is a great improvement in comparison to the 2011 redistricting cycle where the public had only a few days to comment on the Redistricting Committee map proposal prior to introduction in the legislature.
As the General Assembly prepares to convene on December 6 for a special session to tackle congressional redistricting, we urge legislators to continue to make the redistricting process open and transparent by ensuring the session is accessible. We hope updated reopening guidelines will be released soon that allows for remote participation, even if advocates have in-person access, without limits on the amount of oral testimony that can be provided during hearings.
We also urge legislators to put their own interest aside and instead focus their efforts on passing a map that complies with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and build voting power for Black, Latinx, AAPI and other historically marginalized communities throughout the state.
Common Cause Maryland and partner organizations are currently in the process of reviewing all four map concepts to understand their impact on the voting power of historically marginalized Maryland communities, as well as partisan fairness, and traditional redistricting criteria.
Maryland is now the fourth most diverse state in the country and we deserve to vote in districts where everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, income-level or zip code, has an equal opportunity to elect representatives that share our values and lived experiences.