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Maryland to Pennsylvania: You First

Flag_of_Maryland.svgMaryland is putting the pressure on Pennsylvania and four other states to institute redistricting reform.  

According to Keystone Crossroads, Maryland is proposing a six-state agreement to institute an independent commission to draw congressional districts.  The other four states are New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia.  

Maryland recently rejected a proposal from Republican Governor Larry Hogan to reform the way Maryland draws their Congressional districts.  Maryland’s political situation is practically reversed from Pennsylvania’s.  The state House of Delegates and Senate are both overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats.  

Redistricting reform has been a contentious issue in Pennsylvania for years.  

Some in Pennsylvania see move as a positive.

“I’m glad to see that Maryland did this. I am definitely taking a look and I will mirror that legislation in Pennsylvania. We have to do something and this might get it moving,” Senator Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton) told Keystone Crossroads.  

Some in Maryland view the move by Democrats in their state as purely political.

“It’s just stupid. I mean, I don’t know how else to put it. We are in charge of our own redistricting and then to throw out a bill on the floor that says, ‘Oh, we’ve heard your concerns. We’ll fix it when five other states agree with us.’ No. That’s not how it works,” Maryland state Senator Michael Hough (R-Frederick) told the Frederick News-Post.

“Both sides do it” has been a common refrain from those who are against reforming the way districts are redrawn.  The agreement could help minimize that argument against the reforms.

7 Responses

  1. Redistricting by an independent agency using technology is smart for both parties and transparent. Government will actually be more productive and it increase trust from the public.

  2. “We are in charge of our own redistricting . . . . .”

    Indeed. But Maryland is a rather interesting, atypical state where politics run riot in the style of Philadelphia writ large. They do things differently there on a statewide level, and the history of redistricting over the past three decades or so clearly reflects that. Maryland politics is an ongoing effort to keep finding new ways to keep the lid on some very questionable practices.

    All the Marylanders who are in on this want is political cover to continue their redistricting by drawing out the process for coming up with a standard (need five other states to agree), and then pulling out at the last minute, or being terminally slow in going along with any standards and precedents, or even pulling out at the last moment on technicalities.

  3. Well well. The GOP blog now blames Dems for the gerrymandering that supposedly exists, so they could not possibly reform the GOP gerrymandering in PA first.

  4. John Galt was a fictional character devised by a mentally ill woman who survived by drawing Social Security Disability payments for many years. Her fans are apparently unaware of the irony…

  5. I think the idea makes a *lot* of sense. Gerrymandering benefits whichever party draws the lines. If one party unilaterally refuses to do it, they will suffer only electoral harm and no electoral benefit.

    Why would they do it?

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