The 3rd congressional districts in Maryland and Virginia are roughly 200 miles apart — depending on which part of their ungainly boundaries one takes as a starting point — and, on the surface, seem to have little in common. Virginia’s 3rd stretches from Norfolk to Richmond. Maryland’s 3rd, with contours often likened to a blood spatter, incorporates parts of Baltimore City, as well as parts of Anne Arundel (including Annapolis), Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties. What they share is a genesis in bald-faced gerrymandering contrived by politicians intent on manipulating electoral maps to their advantage by hand-picking their own voters. Democrats are the culprits in Maryland’s case; Republicans did the deed in Virginia. Encouragingly, there are signs that the jig may be up, or that at least it is facing more pressure than ever before.
Prodded by the judiciary, Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, and Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, are moving toward some version of redistricting reform. In both cases, that would be a blow to the good-old boys in the state capitals and Congress, and a favor to voters, whose say in elections has been subjugated to partisan interests.
Both Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Hogan are on record as backing redistricting reform to minimize political shenanigans when their state legislatures redraw electoral lines after each decennial census. Each faces a state legislature dominated by the opposing party. And each can convincingly make the argument that the timing is right to shift the responsibility of drawing electoral maps to a bipartisan or nonpartisan commission.
Full Article: The gerrymandering jig should be up – The Washington Post.