ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today encouraged Marylanders to comment on the draft legislative and congressional maps published by the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission.
This independent commission—the first of its kind in state history—is charged with drawing fair legislative and congressional maps for the 2022 elections. The membership of the Citizens Commission is divided equally between Republicans, Democrats, and individuals not affiliated with either party. None of its members are elected officials or candidates for office, and the governor has no involvement in the commission’s work.
The Citizens Commission is now in its third round of public meetings, and its next meeting is this evening, Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m, with closed-captioning and live Spanish translation. To date, the commission has held 32 public meetings and has received more than 80 map submissions from the public.
“As a mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, our members have embraced our charge to create new district boundaries that are free from political influence and offer the opportunity for free and fair elections in Maryland,” the Commission stated in a recent update to the governor. “We are continuing to engage the community and urge their participation in this very open, public, and transparent process. We will finalize our commission’s map plans and present them to you for your consideration. You can expect these final map recommendations by early November.”
“This is what real nonpartisan redistricting looks like: fairness, transparency, and accountability,” said Governor Hogan. “While the Citizens Commission has already published draft maps and held dozens of public meetings, the legislature’s backroom partisan process is run by career politicians, has released no draft maps, and has no map portal for citizen input. I encourage all Marylanders to take part in the process and comment on the independent Commission’s maps. We want to make sure that this time the people of Maryland are actually drawing these maps—not the politicians or the party bosses.”
Update from the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission:
October 15, 2021
Dear Governor Hogan,
As we enter the final stages of the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission’s mission, we want to take this opportunity to update you on our accomplishments and upcoming plans. Our diverse Citizens Commission has worked diligently to meet the goals set forth by your Executive Order. As a mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, our members have embraced our charge to create new district boundaries that are free from political influence and offer the opportunity for free and fair elections in Maryland.
To accomplish this, the Citizens Commission developed a transparent process allowing Marylanders not only to observe our group’s work but also to engage in the process. Our public meetings began on May 5 with a series of working meetings in advance of a series of three rounds of public meetings.
The first round included eight regional meetings during which members of the public could share their thoughts about the upcoming redistricting process in advance of the 2020 Census data. On September 20, we completed the second round of four public meetings, during which Marylanders were able to submit their own maps and present them to the Commission with live testimony during a meeting. The Commission began the third and final round of public meetings on October 6. There are four meetings during this round occurring each Wednesday evening in October.
To date, we have received 78 map submissions from the public and we suspect we will receive even more. During the second and third rounds, we have also held a series of working meetings, during which we worked with the Commission’s expert, Professor Nathaniel Persily of Stanford University, on crafting the maps that we will ultimately present to you.
We have completed the final proposed drafts of the congressional, legislative, and state senate maps and they have been posted to the Commission’s website for the public’s review. We are encouraging the public to again submit their own map recommendations during the third round. We have left time at the end of this last round to modifying the maps as appropriate. The Citizens Commission has held a total of 32 open public meetings, with all meetings involving public testimony available on Zoom and YouTube, which can be found here. The public meetings have provided live Spanish translation through a partnership with the University of Maryland Spanish Department. The meetings also offer closed-captioning for the hearing impaired. Information for each of the meetings, including maps, agendas, video recordings, and transcripts can be found on our website at redistricting.maryland.gov.
In addition to more than 3,611 citizens attending one of the virtual meetings, the Commission’s social media posts have resulted in more than 45,138 impressions on Twitter and a reach of more than 80,818 views on Facebook. Our meeting notifications are sent out via press release to more than 46,000 email contacts, including local, county, and state officials, and many other organizations including the media, MACo, and MML. Our promotional materials have been translated into Spanish and distributed to the Latino community by our Hispanic advisor.
We are continuing to engage the community and urging their participation in this very open, public, and transparent process. We will finalize our Commission’s map plans and present them to you for your consideration. You can expect these final map recommendations by early November. We truly believe they will be inclusive and representative of our diverse communities and people, and we look forward to seeing them approved by the Maryland General Assembly.
Dr. Kathleen Hetherington
Judge Alexander Williams, Jr.