For roughly two hours Monday, 10 members of the new Maryland Redistricting Reform Commission listened to voters and elected officials alike vent about the state’s congressional and legislative district maps. Speakers told them they felt disenfranchised and distressed. They said their voices had been silenced, and their views weren’t represented. “They’re frustrated and apathetic,” former district court judge and commission co-chairman Alexander Williams Jr. concluded after the hearing. “People want something done.” Monday’s hearing, conducted at Hagerstown Community College, was the second in a series the 11-member panel is holding across the state.
Established by Gov. Larry Hogan last month, the commission must issue a report on its findings to the governor, Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch by Nov. 3.
Ultimately, the commission is to make recommendations for a constitutional amendment on redistricting for the Maryland General Assembly to consider next year.
Christopher Bouchat, an unsuccessful candidate last year for the Maryland House of Delegates from Carroll County, told the panel he is currently a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the state over “voter disenfranchisement.” Bouchat said his legislative district crosses into Howard County. He won in his county, but was less well known in Howard, he said.