Maryland General Assembly hands Governor Hogan final veto override on congressional maps

Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — There’s a showdown in Annapolis between the executive and legislative branches over congressional maps through the 2030 elections based on the latest Census data.

And throngs of protestors have besieged the State House for fairness in the way we vote. It has been back and forth here all week. Democratic supermajorities in the General Assembly are pushing ahead with their own plan — not Governor Larry Hogan’s — on lines for Maryland’s eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives on the second day of the special session. There’s more to come.

“We expect the governor to veto the Democrats’ majority party plan because he believes it is a gerrymandered, partisan map,” said Genie Massey with the Washington County League of Women Voters.

The Maryland league cites a Princeton University study giving the legislature’s maps an “F” — a failing grade for putting partisan political advantage ahead of map-making for compact and contiguous districts.

“We want to see maps that meet the people’s needs, not politicians’ needs,” said Ericka McDonald from Baltimore County’s chapter of the League.

These reformists want an open process for drawing these lines, not one devised in smoke-filled rooms.

“It is time for congressional and state legislative maps drawn by the voters, not elected officials and party leaders behind close doors with brandy and cigars,” said Justin Guardo with Represent Maryland.

All this veto ping-pong can be avoided, these activists say, with true reform to the entire process.

“That’s why the League of Women Voters for Washington County and the League of Women Voters of Maryland is pressing the politicians to create a fairer process in Maryland,” said Massey. “Perhaps one like the independent commission in California that has created districts that are more competitive.

California is one of only ten states to already have such a panel. Republicans and reformists are critical of the political process in Annapolis because they say this whole exercise is designed to weaken the voting strength of Maryland’s lone GOP member of the U.S. House, Congressman Andy Harris from the Eastern Shore.

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