Common Cause and the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting & Grassroots Engagement (CHARGE) released their Community Redistricting Report Card on Wednesday, grading all 50 states on their redistricting efforts in the 2021 cycle. The report gives Maryland a "C" citing partisan gerrymandering, the absence of mandate for former Governor Larry Hogan's independent advisory Commission, and an overall lack of transparency and engagement throughout the redistricting process.
In 2021, former Governor Hogan assembled an independent advisory commission to draw Maryland's new congressional and legislative districting lines. Without any legal mandate, however, the General Assembly was able to ignore the Commission's recommendations and approve its own maps. In February 2022, a Maryland Circuit Court found the State Legislature's congressional map to be unconstitutional on the basis of partisan gerrymandering, and ordered the map to be redrawn.
Maryland Matters reports that former Governor Hogan's Commission, while flawed, boosted Maryland's grade, as one of CHARGE's primary recommendations is that all states establish independent redistricting commissions with the authority to approve final maps. The grade was brought down by the General Assembly's continued efforts to minimize public access and input throughout the process. Advocates note that the State Legislature gave little notice for upcoming hearings, failed to provide adequate public education, and refused to share details or rationale for how they decided on the final map drawings.
To read the full report, click here.