League of Women Voters fights gerrymandering


Congressional District 3 includes four counties in Maryland.

Nancy Soaring has heard it described in many ways.

“[District 3] is the one that the judge said looks like a blood splatter, other people say a pterodactyl with a broken wing,” said Nancy Soaring, League of Women Voters.

It has also been the source of a recent outcry against gerrymandering across the state and at this public meeting in Gaithersburg.

“The League of Women Voters feel that election districts should be drawn to the advantage of voters,” said Soaring.  “They should be drawn so that they get fair representation and the opportunity to elect the people that they want to have represent them.”

Congressional districts have been contentious all over the country.

In Maryland, state lawmakers decide the district boundaries.

“Gerrymandering based on its historical origins has sort of a bad reputation because it’s a good way to shove a number of opponents’ voters into one district, so they basically waste the votes,” said Robert Sweeney, Montgomery County Resident.

After redistricting Maryland in 2011, many argue legislators included a piece of Montgomery County in District 6 to increase the democratic vote.

The League of Women Voters says redistricting should be a nonpartisan process.

“We don’t want redistricting that favors either party; we want it to favor the voters,” said Soaring.

The League of Women Voters has been pushing for an independent redistricting commission since the 1960s, which would require constitutional reform in Maryland.

Soaring says the only way to transfer the power of redistricting to an independent commission is through a huge push from the state’s residents.

The next census will be in 2020, so lines will be drawn in 2021.

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