For immediate release:
Friday, August 7, 2015

Contact:
Erin Montgomery erin.montgomery@maryland.gov
410-974-2316

In Case You Missed It:

Redistricting Reform: Hogan Makes Good on his Promise

From The Baltimore Sun

Editorial Board – “This one stands out because his administration is in a position to deliver on a fundamental reform for the cause of good government in a way that might never have happened if he hadn’t been elected.”

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The Baltimore Sun
Editorial Board
August 6, 2015

“Gov. Larry Hogan took an important step toward fulfilling one of the most important promises of his campaign today by naming a commission to come up with recommendations to reform the process by which Maryland redraws congressional and legislative district maps… But this one stands out because his administration is in a position to deliver on a fundamental reform for the cause of good government in a way that might never have happened if he hadn’t been elected.

“Maryland’s redistricting process is dominated by the governor, and for the last several decades, that has meant, for all practical purposes, that the lines have been drawn by a small group of Democratic insiders in a way that benefits the Democratic Party… After the 2010 census, then Gov. Martin O’Malley’s redistricting set the stage for Democrats to take seven of the eight seats. So long as Democrats were firmly in control of both the governor’s seat and the legislature, there was no reason for anyone to listen to the complaints from good government types about contorted district lines. Allowing politicians to choose their voters rather than the other way around suited the powers-that-be just fine.

“But with Governor Hogan, Democrats must face the legitimate possibility that a Republican could still be in control come 2021 — and that he could do unto Democrats what Democrats have done unto Republicans… But with Mr. Hogan in charge, they have every incentive to pursue real reform.

“And although Mr. Hogan didn’t endorse a specific path at his news conference today, he provided about as tangible a signal as possible that he’s interested in doing more than futzing around the margins of Maryland’s law… It’s not a question of whether he will be pushing for major reform but of what shape it will take.

“The governor’s appointees to the board reiterate the point. He named as co-chairs a Democrat and a Republican, and he included representatives of organizations across the political spectrum that have been critical of the way Maryland redraws its legislative maps, including Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, the Maryland Public Policy Institute and the NAACP. That boosts the odds that he can hold together a coalition of progressives and conservatives to push reform through the legislature in time to put an amendment on the ballot next year. …

“Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller dismissed Mr. Hogan’s effort, saying gerrymandering is a national problem and that he did not want to put Maryland at a disadvantage compared to other states. Baloney. He doesn’t want to put the Maryland Democratic Party at a disadvantage to gerrymander-happy Republicans in states like North Carolina and Texas. …

“Conservatives in the legislature have long been angry about Maryland’s redistricting process. After 2012, progressives are embarrassed by it. Now we’ve got a governor who wants to do something about it. Mr. Miller can fight it, but redistricting reform is an idea whose time has come.”