The U.S. Supreme Court this morning upheld Maryland’s new Congressional map, clearing up one last legal question and affirming that the state’s prison population can be counted at their last known address. The new method of counting prisoners was adopted after Sen. Catherine Pugh, of Baltimore, successfully pushed legislation intended to boost population in the city. Previously prisoners were counted at their correctional institutions, a practice that critics said unfairly increased the population of prison towns. It was the first such law to pass in the country. Opponents of the plan said it disenfranchises those prisoners who do not have a last known address.
The ruling was applauded by prisoner advocates, who’d been closely watching the case. “Today’s Supreme Court decision in Fletcher v. Lamone affirmed the constitutional ‘one person one vote’ foundation of our decade-old campaign to end prison-based gerrymandering,” said Peter Wagner, Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative. Separately, Republican lawmakers are trying to gather enough signatures to put the Congressional map on the ballot this fall. They have until Saturday to submit the nearly 56,000 signatures needed to trigger a referendum on the map.