Politics

Maryland Democrats To Be Sued For Gerrymandering Amid Party’s Big ‘Voting Rights’ Push

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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Democrats in Maryland will be sued for approving gerrymandered legislative maps as the national party pushes for major electoral reform in the name of strengthening democracy.

Maryland legislators voted Thursday to approve new district maps for the state Senate and the House of Delegates which would strongly favor Democrats for the next decade. The House voted Thursday along partisan lines after the Senate approved the maps last week, and there is no action required by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to approve or turn down the new districts.

Hogan put together the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission to propose alternative maps to those offered by Democrats in the legislature. Hogan’s proposed state Senate map received an ‘A’ grade for partisan fairness from independent experts at Princeton University in November. However, state lawmakers opted instead to proceed with the Democratic maps, which are likely to be more favorable to their party. (RELATED: Internal Poll Shows Larry Hogan Up Big In Maryland Senate Race)

As soon as the maps were approved by lawmakers Thursday, Fair Maps Maryland an organization that advocates for an end to partisan gerrymandering in the state  announced its plans to sue in the Maryland Court of Appeals to stop the implementation of the maps. The group is already involved in a lawsuit against Maryland’s newly approved congressional maps.

The passage highlights a conflict between the messaging of national Democrats and the actions of some state parties. President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have stressed the need to pass their new electoral overhaul proposal, marketed as voting rights, to ensure every American is enfranchised and represented to the fullest extent possible.

At the same time, national Democrats at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) are intervening in the aforementioned lawsuit to try and protect gerrymandered maps in Maryland while their attorneys fight alleged Republican gerrymandering elsewhere. (RELATED: Official Behind Gerrymandered Democrat Maps Was Previously Accused Of Discrimination Against Black Staffers)

The alleged hypocrisy has been the target of GOP messaging ahead of the 2022 midterms, including in a new ad campaign by the Republican State Leadership Committee.

“You have to give the leadership of the Maryland General Assembly a lot of credit, they have been fully committed to voter suppression every step of the way,” Fair Maps Maryland spokesman Doug Mayer said in a release. “As we have said from the start, gerrymandering is voter suppression. Not only is it wrong, it’s illegal, and the Maryland legislature is guilty of it.”