The People Win in Redistricting Commission Report
The Governor’s Redistricting Reform Commission released its report today, and I recommend you read it. It is a fantastic document, a true tour de force from the Commission members.
To summarize their recommendations, they are:
- Create criteria applying to Congressional and Legislative Districts that would require both to be equal in population, compact, congruent, and contiguous;
- Create a nine member independent Redistricting Commission, independent of politicians;
- Allow the General Assembly rejection authority by the Supermajority of both houses of the General Assembly;
- Allow the Governor veto power if passed by the General Assembly;
- Allows the Commission to submit a second plan if not passed and signed;
- Allows the Court of Appeals to draw the map if a second Commission map is rejected;
- Establish a +/- 1% population variance for Legislative Districts;
- Study the benefits of single-member districts for the House of Delegates; and,
- Prohibit subdividing House of Delegates districts into a two-member and one-member district.
Realistically, these recommendations could not be better for the state of Maryland nor could they be better for the people of Maryland. This takes the partisan process of redistricting out of the hands of a single person, the Governor, and places it in the hands of the people with appropriate Legislative and Executive oversight. It gets politicians out of the picture and requires districts that are more fair and more equitable than anything voters in Maryland have seen in a long, long time.
Now it’s on to the General Assembly to start putting the Governor’s plan into law. There will be tremendous resistance from Legislative Leadership, particularly Senate President Mike Miller. Instead of doing the right thing, he and the other Democrats in Annapolis will dig in their heels and try to protect insider dealing and political gamesmanship to try to cling to the hope that a Democratic Governor will be elected in 2018. Miller’s goal is to work to continue to bury Republicans for 40 years; a goal that, clearly, he has failed at.
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Let’s be very clear about this: There is no legitimate reason that any member of any party should oppose the Governor’s plan. And any Democrat who opposed this redistricting reform plan is doing so only for crass, partisan reasons. Let’s hope the Democrats do the work of the people and get this done.