Seven individuals challenging Maryland’s 6th Congressional District as unconstitutional are asking a federal court to overturn the state’s voting map or block officials from using it in the 2018 election. John Benisek, a resident of Williamsport, and other residents allege that gerrymandering by Maryland Democrats during the 2010-2011 redistricting process violated their First Amendment rights, diminishing the ability of Republicans to elect candidates of their choice for the congressional seat now held by Rep. John Delaney (D). Plaintiffs’ attorneys deposed some of the state’s leading Democrats, including former governor Martin O’Malley, who said he felt a responsibility to make the seat more winnable for Democrats. The seat was held at the time by Roscoe Bartlett (R), and O’Malley led the redistricting effort.
On Wednesday, the attorneys filed a motion asking a three-judge panel with the U.S. District Court in Maryland to declare the map unconstitutional or issue a preliminary injunction blocking the state from enforcing it,” arguing that “any further delay risks irreparable injury with respect to the forthcoming 2018 election.”
The plaintiffs are arguing that Democratic state officials who designed the district relied heavily on advanced mapping software, voter-registration data and voting history to give an advantage to their party.