“The Maryland Citizen Redistricting Commission Releases Draft Congressional and Legislative District Maps”

Media Contact Nikki Tyree, 410-269-0232 [email protected]

Response from League of Women Voters of Maryland.

The League of Women Voters of Maryland applauds the improved transparency and willingness to hear community voices of both of Maryland’s 2021 redistricting commissions, including the willingness to accept maps created by the public. However, the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission (LRAC), has not yet announced its intention to open the map-drawing process to the public. Further, the LRAC cannot get meaningful public input on its draft Congressional map unless it is released no later thanNovember 15.

The bi-partisan Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission (LRAC), also tasked with drawing Maryland’s legislative and Congressional district lines, is still in the process of its public regional hearings despite being formed in July. We are concerned about the public’s ability to meaningfully observe the map-drawing process. In addition, meaningful feedback is also needed from the public on the first draft of LRAC’s proposed maps. Releasing the Congressional map after the last hearing on November 18 will leave only a week for the public to study it, and no time for the Commission to consider the people’s comments. We ask that the Commission release the Congressional map before the hearings are completed, no later than November 15.

“If ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, then surely a draft map is worth more than statements like “we are committed to fair elections and representation for all Marylanders.” It’s time for the Legislative Commission to show us the dividing lines for the next ten years.” – Beth Hufnagel, Redistricting Committee Chair, League of Women Voters of Maryland

The working meetings of the multi-partisan Maryland Citizen Redistricting Commission’s (MCRC), including the public process of actually drawing the maps, was a fascinating tutorial on the challenges and myriad choices of this process. The release of the MCRC’s proposed Congressional and state Legislative maps at the start of October will leave sufficient time for their four scheduled hearings during October to secure community feedback, and for the MCRC to consider the public’s comments before it sends the final maps to Governor Hogan.

The League of Women Voters of Maryland implores the LRAC to not only listen to Maryland citizens during these hearings, but also to hear their constituents before they decide on what districts are best for communities they do not live in.