Though the drive from Mount Washington in Baltimore to Hunt Valley in Baltimore County spanned only 13 miles, the travelers passed through four different congressional districts. Members of the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and other groups stopped at four different restaurants along the way Sunday afternoon to highlight what they characterized as Maryland’s extreme gerrymandering, in which boundaries of districts are manipulated to favor a specific incumbent or political party. Opponents of the practice said they felt the momentum was with them to start redrawing district lines to be more compact and fair. In Maryland, Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one. But with the map drawn in 2011 by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and legislative leaders, Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state’s House delegation by seven to one.
Articles about voting issues in Maryland.
Attorney General Brian E. Frosh asked a federal court Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that claims state lawmakers violated Republicans’ constitutional rights when they redrew Maryland’s congressional boundaries six years ago. The state’s response in the redistricting case — the first since the litigation forced several state Democrats to explain under oath the motivation behind Maryland’s contorted congressional districts — asserts the plaintiffs have offered no evidence voters were targeted simply because they are registered Republicans. Brought by a group of GOP voters in the 6th Congressional District, the case is one of several pending in federal courts that rely on new legal arguments to challenge the constitutionality of political gerrymandering. The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear one of those lawsuits this fall — and that litigation, which comes out of Wisconsin, could play into the Maryland suit.
Maryland’s deputy Secretary of State has resigned from a controversial Trump administration panel probing alleged voter fraud in last year’s presidential election. Deputy Secretary of State Luis E. Borunda, a former Baltimore County school board member, informed the Hogan administration Monday that he resigned from Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, according to Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer. Mayer said Borunda joined Trump’s 15-member bipartisan panel “on his own,” and was not appointed by the governor. “He informed our office he has resigned from the commission,” Mayer said. Borunda did not respond to a request for comment.
In spring 2011, the six Democratic members of Maryland’s congressional delegations tasked Eric Hawkins with two key jobs: Draw new district lines that get us re-elected easily for another five terms, while also taking direct aim at the state’s last two Republicans. Behind closed doors, Democratic insiders and high-ranking aides referred to it as “the 7-1 map.” Hawkins—an analyst at a Beltway data firm called NCEC Services—not only made it happen, but imagined an 8-0 map that might have shut Republicans out of power altogether. That, however, would have required spreading Democratic voters a little too thin and made some incumbents slightly less safe; these congressmen were partisans, sure, but they were also reluctant to risk their own seats.
Maryland: Supreme Court picks up gerrymander case with potential implications for Maryland | Baltimore Sun
The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a major challenge to partisan gerrymandering in a case that could have implications for Maryland, where the state’s contorted congressional maps are being contested in a separate but similar federal case. The challenge to the Wisconsin legislative map, to be heard by the high court in the fall, could yield one of the most important rulings on political power in decades. The separate Maryland case is pending before a three-judge federal court.
Maryland’s State Board of Elections detected “suspicious activity” on the computer system it uses for online voter registration before last fall’s election and called in cybersecurity experts to evaluate it, administrator Linda H. Lamone said Wednesday. Lamone’s disclosure came in response to an inquiry by The Baltimore Sun amid reports that Russian cyberattacks had breached election systems in 39 states. Lamone said the system was not penetrated. She said the activity did not compromise vote tabulation.
Maryland: Lawsuit forces Maryland Democrats to acknowledge the obvious: Redistricting was motivated by politics | Baltimore Sun
Maryland Democrats drew the state’s convoluted congressional districts with an eye toward ousting a longtime Republican incumbent and replacing him with a Democrat, former Gov. Martin O’Malley has acknowledged as part of a high-profile legal challenge to the maps winding its way through federal court. The acknowledgment that state Democrats were working in 2011 to add a seventh member of their party to the House of Representatives, widely understood at the time but seldom conceded publicly even now, comes as Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is advocating for a nonpartisan redistricting commission, ostensibly to curb partisan gerrymandering.
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.
Maryland: Everyone in Maryland says they want redistricting reform. Here’s why it won’t happen. | The Washington Post
Maryland’s elected leaders seem unlikely to negotiate a deal this year to end partisan gerrymandering, despite overwhelming public support for redistricting reform, pressure from citizen groups to reach a compromise, and a federal lawsuit that could force the state to overhaul its voting maps for upcoming elections. More than two weeks after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) vetoed plans to pursue a regional redistricting compact and insisted that Maryland should act alone, the state’s top Republican and Democratic officials remain sharply divided on the issue and have made no efforts to merge their proposals. “Pulling these parties together could be the trickiest piece,” said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, which is urging the two sides to meet this summer and hammer out an agreement before next year’s legislative session.
A report released by legislative auditors Friday says the State Board of Elections needlessly exposed the full Social Security numbers of almost 600,000 voters to potential hacking, risking theft of those voters’ identities. The determination that election officials did not fully protect voters’ personal information was one of several highly critical findings in the report. The audit also faulted state election officials’ handling of issues including ballot security, disaster preparedness, contracting and balancing its books. State lawmakers called for a hearing in response to the Office of Legislative Audits report, which prompted strong reaction from critics of the board and its longtime administrator, Linda H. Lamone.