ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 11, 2012) - In accordance with Article III, Section 5 of the Constitution of Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley today presented to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates his proposed map setting forth the boundaries of the legislative districts for electing members of the Senate and the House of Delegates. As required by the Constitution, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House introduced the Governor’s plan as a joint resolution to the General Assembly.
The Governor’s map submitted today enhances minority voting rights, pays exceptional attention to respecting natural and political boundaries, and results in districts that are compact, contiguous, and protects communities.
“The map submitted today directly reflects the demographics of the State and the population trends that have occurred over the past decade,” said Governor O’Malley. “Equally important, the map reflects the extensive public comments that members of the committee and I heard from hundreds of Marylanders in public hearings across the State and in numerous written comments.”
After accepting the unanimous recommendations of the GRAC on December 16, 2011, the Governor received public comment on the recommendations during a public hearing on December 22, 2011. GRAC based its work on the current legislative district map, drawn by the Maryland Court of Appeals in 2002. The Governor was guided by that work product, State and federal Constitutional and legal provisions, and by public input.
Specifically, the Governor’s map:
- Creates 12 districts that are majority African American – an increase from the 10 districts that the Court of Appeals drew in 2002. This reflects the growth in African American population in the State, and provides a much stronger voice for the African American community. These districts are 10, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 47. The Governor’s proposal increases the African American population in Districts 10, 22, 43 and 47 to enhance the voting strength of the African American voters in those communities.
- In addition to the 12 majority African American districts, the map has 4 districts (20, 21, 28, 39) that are majority minority. The Governor’s proposal increases the minority population in District 21.
- For the first time in Maryland’s history, creates a single-member Hispanic district in Prince George’s County, District 47B, which is over 62% Hispanic. The Governor did not the create 50% Hispanic single-member district in Montgomery County (18A) offered as an option by GRAC because of concerns about the ability of the sub-district to elect a Hispanic candidate and the option would also make the remainder of the district (18B), 68% white, both of which may have the effect of limiting minority voting strength.
- Increases African American voting strength on the Eastern Shore and Baltimore City by bringing District 37A on the Eastern Shore to over 50% African American voting age population, and increasing the African American population in District 46 by 5 percentage points.
- Reduces the number of county crossings from 14 in the map drawn by the Court of Appeals in 2002 to 13 crossings. The Governor’s review of the GRAC recommendations resolved minor instances of unintended splits of incorporated areas (such as Frederick, Riverdale Park, and Greenbelt), which are corrected in his map.
- Takes further steps to respond to community concerns about splits of unincorporated areas. While balancing minority voting rights, municipal boundaries, and county boundaries, the Governor’s map takes steps to keep more of certain communities together. The Governor’s plan reunites a Seabrook precinct in District 22; puts more of the Lake Arbor community together in District 24; reunites more of Woodmore in District 23; reunites more of Hillcrest Heights in District 26; and puts more of Severna Park back together in District 33.
- Makes changes in Baltimore County to make Districts 7, 10 and 42 more compact, and makes changes in Baltimore City to increase the neighborhoods that remain in their current district in Districts 41 and 44A.