Come Speak Out on Redistricting Reform!

In 2015, shortly after the Governor appointed an 11-member Commission to study redistricting and make recommendations for improving the way it’s done in Maryland, the Commissioners traveled around the state to hear from stakeholders.  Listening sessions took place in Towson, Hagerstown, Waldorf, Easton and Laurel.  During legislative hearings, the Commission was criticized for not seeking input from more politically and ethnically diverse population centers.  Therefore, the Commission has scheduled two more hearings for the fall....

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Gerrymander Meander 2: What were they th(dr)inking when they drew these lines? Crowds rally for redistricting reform

Timonium – Scores of people came out Sunday for a unique protest against gerrymandering in Maryland. The event, the “Gerrymander Meander 2,” visited four different restaurants in Baltimore County. Although the entire route was just 13 miles long from south to north, each stop was located in a different Congressional district – and participants who visited every stop actually crossed district lines seven times.

 

“Three years ago, full of energy and optimism, the Tame the Gerrymander Coalition hosted the Gerrymander Meander: a relay-run around District 3, highlighting one of Maryland’s particularly strange districts,” explained Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. “Today’s event enabled us to experience our gerrymander in a different way by showing how contorted our districts are, slicing their way across our counties and through our neighborhoods.”

The event also commemorated the birthday of Elbridge Gerry, the namesake of the gerrymander.  Each stop had food specials, contests and guest speakers on redistricting reform.

Lieutenant Governor Rutherford spoke at the first event. “Our districts are so carved up that they are denying people a voice in the process,” he said. “It is time to stop. Other states have taken action – what are we waiting for?”

Other guest speakers included Senator Jim Brochin (D-42) and Walter Olson, co-chair of the Governor’s Commission on Redistricting Reform. “Maryland is an example of a problem the whole country is going to have to deal with,” said Mr. Olson.

Members of the Tame the Gerrymander coalition urged the attendees at each stop to get engaged.

“This meander might only cover 13 miles,” said Ashley Oleson, Administrative Director of the League of Women Voters of Maryland, “but we are in the final stretch of a marathon. For the past three years we have been building momentum for redistricting reform. Now we have to carry this fight over the finish line.”

The event route started at Le Bistro du Village in Baltimore City, then went to Tark’s Grill in Timonium before visiting Roma’s Café in Cockeysville and ending at The Greene Turtle in Hunt Valley. Between 35 and 45 people joined at each location. Attendees hailed from across the state, including Frederick, Baltimore County and City, Harford, Cecil, Howard, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, and Prince George’s.  There were participants from nearly every Congressional district in attendance.

“Redistricting reform is critical to having the business of the people, instead of the business of the political establishment, being taken care of in Congress and in State Houses. That is why No Labels Maryland is proud to be a member of the coalition and a co-host of this event” said Steve Daubresse, No Labels Maryland lead organizer.

Organizers expressed their excitement with the turnout for the event. “Clearly, this is an issue that resonates with Marylanders. We can only hope that our elected officials are paying attention,” said Lu Pierson, one of the attendees.

The Tame the Gerrymander coalition will now focus on policy forums scheduled for the fall as they prepare for the 2018 legislative session.

Pictures of the event can be found online here

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Tame the Gerrymander is a joint effort led by the League of Women Voters of Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, No Labels Maryland, and No More Gerrymandering in Maryland.

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LWVMD Commends SBE's Denial of Federal Voter Data Request

On Tuesday we will celebrate the 241st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the document that launched the United States of America.  As we celebrate our freedom in an atmosphere of bitter political divisions, we would do well to remember the Declaration’s assertion that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.  Nothing is more sacred in America’s political creed than the citizen’s right to vote.  LWV is dedicated to protecting that right, and to informing citizens about candidates and issues so they can exercise that right effectively.  

It is because of our commitment to the rights of voters LWV came out in solidarity with states who refused to comply with this intrusive and overly broad request last week by the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity for the voter registration records of all voters.

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Hogan Vetoes SB 1023, Mid-Atlantic Redistricting Process

Statement from Common Cause Maryland and the League of Women Voters of Maryland on Governor’s announcement today on redistricting reform:

Today, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that he would veto SB 1023, the General Assembly’s proposal for redistricting reform. The Tame the Gerrymander coalition believes this veto gives both the legislature and the Governor another chance to work together to craft a strong, meaningful reform that will ensure Marylanders have the fair process they deserve.

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League Statement Supporting Redistricting Reform Published in Washington Post

Click here to see the opinion piece written by Nancy Soreng  Co-President of the League of Women Voters and Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Executive Director of Common Cause. 

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League Response to Voter Roll Complaints

The Washington Time recently urged the League of Women Voters of Maryland to join an effort to expedite the purging of voters from the rolls in Montgomery County.   The League declined to support this effort, noting the many mistaken assumptions in the claim that there were too many people on the voter registration lists.

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“Politics before policy:” Legislature Fumbles the Ball on Redistricting

Annapolis - March 20, 2017 - Today, the state legislature put politics ahead of policy – killing strong legislation that would have made Maryland a leader on redistricting reform. In its place, the Senate is moving a bill that creates a false promise of reform, committing to end the gerrymander in Maryland only if five other states – from New York to North Carolina – take action as well.

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