Opponents of Maryland’s recently adopted congressional district map appear all but certain of having submitted enough valid signatures to force the map to referendum in November. At last count, they were only 2,200 signatures away from victory, with significantly more than 2,500 signatures awaiting validation — an important fact given that only about 10 percent of all signatures have been rejected thus far. Should the State Board of Election verify enough signatures, the Maryland Democratic party has hinted it will fight the validity of enough accepted signatures to avoid having the map placed before the voters.
This is a bad idea. Every nonpartisan observer of state politics recognizes the new map for what it is: A partisan power grab intended to net Democrats an additional seat in Congress. To accomplish this, Gov. Martin O’Malley submitted a map to the General Assembly that contains some of the most gerrymandered districts in the nation. Maryland’s map is every bit as egregious as the Republican-drawn map in Texas. The new Maryland map would likely result in a congressional delegation that is 7 to 1 Democrat over Republican — in a state where Republicans routinely receive at least 40 percent of the statewide vote. Worse, the map uses minority voters as electoral cannon fodder, slicing and dicing minority communities so that their reliably Democratic votes can dilute Republican votes in the conservative parts of the state that flank the Interstate 95 corridor.
The new Maryland congressional map already mocks the very concept of representative democracy; the state Democratic party really doesn’t need to add insult to injury by denying the people their right to petition and judge the map for themselves.
Still, even if voters do reject the new map, there is nothing to prevent Gov. O’Malley from resubmitting the same (or a worse) map to the General Assembly. A rejection of the map by voters would send a powerful message, but more needs to be done.
[Continue reading Todd Eberly’s post at The FreeStater Blog.]
Todd Eberly blogs at The FreeStaterBlog. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.