Now live: help fix Maryland’s gerrymandered Sixth District! This site (press release, guidelines) will let you propose and submit a map to Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency commission using the inline Maptitude software. Aside from enabling the construction of maps using census blocks and other units, the software will ensure that the map you submit complies with legal requirements for equal numbers of persons per district and contiguous territory.
The site also accepts maps via data files or hardcopy as well as public comments of all sorts to advise the commission in its work. Note that public comment and map submission is open for two weeks, until Feb. 27. If possible, try to submit earlier rather than later.
More: Diane Rey, Maryland Reporter in January, League of Women Voters of Maryland overview. And on a lighter note, from Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford on social media:
Gov. Hogan’s Emergency Commission on Sixth District Gerrymandering is holding its next public hearing in Rockville next week. Come share what you think a fair 6th district would look like! Details:
Thurs., Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
Montgomery College, Rockville Campus
Theatre Arts Arena
51 Mannakee Street
Rockville, MD 20850
Please share with others interested in free and fair elections and an end to gerrymandering in Maryland.
Major news Friday on two fronts in Maryland redistricting:
1) The Supreme Court will take up the Maryland gerrymandering case once again — its third trip to the Court — to review the three judge panel’s November decision finding the Sixth District unconstitutional.
2) The emergency commission to draw a new Sixth District compliant with the court’s opinion, on which I serve, met for the first time in Annapolis. One action we took was to schedule the three public hearings we will hold before adopting a recommended map. The dates and places (all 7 p.m., later venues TBD) are:
Frederick — Jan. 14, Frederick Community College, Jack B. Kussmaul (JBK) Theater, 7932 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick
Montgomery County — Jan. 31
Cumberland or Frostburg — Feb. 6
Coverage: Samantha Hogan/Frederick News-Post, Jennifer Barrios/Washington Post, Rachel Baye/WYPR, David Collins/WBAL, Luke Broadwater and Pamela Wood/Baltimore Sun.
Frederick hearing coverage: Steve Bohnel, Frederick News-Post; Katie Misuraca, WDVM; Catalina Righter, Carroll County Times.
I joined hosts Darren Wigfield and Dave Schmidt on WFMD’s “Frederick’s Forum” on Saturday for a two-hour (!) show on gerrymandering and the Sixth District, with a little bit of unrelated talk about law and the Supreme Court toward the end. You can listen here: first, second portion.
On Monday Gov. Larry Hogan announced an executive order creating an emergency commission to redraw Maryland’s Sixth District to comply with a federal court order. (Coverage: WBAL, Maryland Reporter, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and Capital Gazette, AP/ABC, Frederick News Post, Herald Mail (Hagerstown), WMAR, Maryland Matters, and many others. ) I’m honored to serve together with Judge Alex Williams as a co-chair of this commission, which will also include Ashley Oleson (no relation) and six more members.
This nine-member commission will be drawn equally from among registered Maryland Democrats, Republicans, and voters affiliated with neither of those parties. Qualified persons of all party affiliations are encouraged to apply. Applications close December 10. Some restrictions apply as explained at the link; for example, employees of the legislature and governor and officials of political parties are ineligible to serve. This is a unique opportunity for civic-minded persons to make a difference for the better in our state.
Shortly before being asked to be part of this effort, I discussed the Sixth District ruling in a podcast with the Frederick News Post’s Emma Kerr and Colin McGuire, as well as an interview with host Sheilah Kast at WYPR’s “On the Record”. I also joined West Coast-based libertarian radio host Bob Zadek for an hour-long show on the national aspects of redistricting reform.
Thanks Tom Coale, Candace Dodson Reed, and Ilana Bittner for having me as a guest on the Elevate Maryland podcast, which focuses on civic and political life from a Howard County vantage point. I join at the 20 minute mark and after a lengthy and detailed discussion of gerrymandering and the Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission’s recommendations, we move on to topics like the comparative restaurant scene (E.C. vs. Rockville vs. Volt and Family Meal — must we choose?), accordions, and TV. [Player.fm, iTunes]
Here, by Josh Kurtz at Maryland Matters. Related: one reason Republicans on the national scene may rue their indulgence in gerrymandering is that systematically placing many seats beyond opponents’ reach in an evenly balanced electorate requires crowding a lot of them into the zone just past that (say, where the party advantage is between +4 and +8). But that leaves the gerrymandering party vulnerable to a mid-sized wave that might tip a lot of seats at once [Bernard Grofman and Thomas Brunell 2005 via John Gastil, Washington Post, “Monkey Cage” 2016]
Last month the Supreme Court heard oral argument (transcript) in Benisek v. Lamone, the challenge to Maryland’s gerrymandered Sixth District. I was there with some critics of the gerrymander in front of the Court steps and spoke to a number of reporters afterward [Danielle Gaines, Frederick News-Post; Bruce DePuyt, Maryland Matters] See also Eric Boehm, Reason. Earlier here. Background links on Maryland case: Cynthia Prairie, Maryland Reporter in January.
I was interviewed by reporter Tom Fitzgerald for WTTG Fox 5 in front of the Court, and joined anchor/host Jason Newton and Goucher pollster Mileah Kromer on WBAL’s “TV Hill.” You can also listen through Facebook to my appearance on WFMD with Dave Schmidt and Darren Wigfield on redistricting
New audio contributions include a Cato Daily Podcast in which I’m interviewed by Caleb Brown, and a narrator’s reading for Cato’s “Cato Out Loud” feature of my recent piece on why libertarians and others should oppose gerrymandering:
Finally, I’m also in the question period a bit more than two-thirds through this Federalist Society program featuring former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Ct.) and Weekly Standard senior writer Jay Cost.
“Our coalition considers the work of the Redistricting Commission [MRRC] to be the gold standard for reform.” — Tame the Gerrymander Coalition, on Facebook, on the Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission (report). Thanks! The hearings this year, at which I testified, were Feb. 26 (House side) and March 1 (Senate).
My bit of Twitter humor from the other day:
Is your child texting about partisan gerrymandering? Know the language:
IDC: Is district compact?
SMDH: Splitting more Dem households
OMG: Omigod, Maryland’s gerrymandered
HBD: Hilariously bad district
LOL: Less outrageous lines
OMW: Our map wins
FFS: Friend/foe spread
On a more serious note, I’m visible in this photo of Gov. Hogan’s press conference last month on redistricting reform: