Maryland: Redistricting Map Critics Meet Referendum Threshold
Posted at 2:24 p.m. on July 12, 2012
Maryland’s controversial redistricting map will be put to the voters in a referendum this fall.
Enough signatures were validated Wednesday afternoon to meet the legal threshold of about 56,000 signatures to put the map on the ballot when voters go to the polls in November, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. The referendum awaits official certification from the board and that process is not complete.
If the referendum is certified by the board, it is uncertain what will happen if voters strike down the new Congressional boundaries map. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) told the Baltimore Sun that even if voters overturn the map, he would send a new one to the Legislature with only “marginal” changes.
The map was considered one of the ugliest in the country. Democrats and Republicans alike howled over the boundaries after its October release. The most common derogatory description for the new lines was “Rorschach test.” Roll Call rated Rep. John Sarbanes’ (D) 3rd district as one of the five ugliest districts in the country.
But it is the 6th that was affected the most politically. Maryland Democrats went into redistricting with the intent of picking up another seat in the delegation, and they likely will accomplish that goal in the fall elections. Lawmakers redrew Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s district (R) so dramatically that his once-safe seat now favors the Democrats.
Even Democrats critics of the overall map emerged, most notably Rep. Donna Edwards. But it was Republican state Del. Neil Parrott who led the referendum effort.