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Second Lawsuit Filed Challenging Maryland's Congressional Map 
                                            
 

 

 
Md. Governor Martin O'Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch at the bill signing for the state's new congressional districts. Photo:AP

 
   2010 Census  Adjusted Population

State Population 

 5,773,552  5,772,231

Ideal Congressional District Population

 721,694  721,529
 
Read the complaint: Fletcher v. Lamone.
 
 Maryland 2012 Congressional Districts

   
November 11, 2011

Nine Maryland residents have filed a lawsuit against Maryland’s newly enacted congressional map. The complaint was filed in federal district court on Thursday claiming the new districts dilute minority votes, violate equal population requirements and is a product of both racial and partisan gerrymandering.

 

The state’s new congressional districts were enacted on October 20th after a special session of the Maryland General Assembly convened on the 17th. The final map, while proposed by the governor in accordance with the state constitution- was mostly a product of an advisory commission, which held a series of public hearings over the summer to receive public input.

The map made the most changes to the states’ eight congressional districts in the northwestern and central portions of the state, in particular the Montgomery County area – a Washington DC suburb. U.S. Representative Donna Edwards (D), who represents congressional district 4 was one of the most vocal opponents of the changes made to that district as it was moved entirely out of Montgomery County and placed partly in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.

 

Representatives of the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee have been vocal critics of the maps’ failure to create a third African-American congressional district, while Republicans objected to the dismantling of a western Maryland district represented by longtime Republican congressman Roscoe Bartlett.  Both Edwards and Republicans make the claim that most of the districts include oddly matched communities which lack much in common. The first lawsuit filed against the map was made by Western Maryland resident Howard Gorrell, who similarly claimed that the map unfairly divides agrarian communities in the west.

 

The lawsuit filed today will feature at least one novel legal claim involving the basic requirement that each congressional district be as close to equal in population as possible. While the map at issue has a deviation of only 1 person, the population numbers used to calculate this was not based entirely on 2010 census numbers. The state used an adjusted version of the official census numbers to comply with a state law passed by the legislature in 2010 requiring population counts used to create legislative districts for the U.S. Congress, General Assembly, and county and municipal governing bodies exclude incarcerated individuals who were not State residents prior to their incarceration in either State or federal correctional facilities and that incarcerated individuals who were State residents prior to their incarceration be counted as residents at their last known address.  

 

Maryland was one of the first states to adopt a prison allocation law along with New York and Delaware. New York has not completed its redistricting and Delaware lawmakers decided to postpone application of the law until the next redistricting cycle due to the expense involved in its implementation. Prisoner allocation requires that a state manually adjust its official census numbers by determining the last known residence of prisoners located in its institutions, subtracting them from the location of the prison (where the Census Bureau initially counted them) and adding them to the location/address where they resided before imprisonment. Prisoners who were not state residents before being incarcerated in the state are not counted.

 
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