Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Tuesday proposed creating a nonpartisan redistricting panel to draw Maryland’s legislative and congressional districts, a change that would strip that power from the legislature and the governor’s office. … The redistricting proposal — which will be formally introduced in the legislature Wednesday — would require an amendment to the state constitution. The change would have to be approved both by the Democratic-majority legislature and by voters. Democratic legislative leaders have vowed to resist such redistricting changes, saying they prefer to wait for national redistricting reform that would also affect states where Republicans control the legislatures.
Hogan has criticized state lawmakers and his Democratic predecessor, Martin O’Malley, for creating what experts agree are some of the nation’s most gerrymandered districts. All but one of Maryland’s eight members of the House of Representatives are Democrats, in part because of the way the districts are drawn.
“For too long, fair elections and a healthy, strong, and competitive two-party system have been nearly impossible in our state,” Hogan said in a news release Tuesday.
Independent redistricting commissions are used in six Western states, including Arizona, whose system was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The option was recommended by a commission Hogan appointed to study the issue.