Maryland's congressional maps are a product of the politicians, for the politicians, by the politicians. They were born of the two competing desires of the state's
They achieved their goals — Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is facing his first serious challenge in years, and none of the incumbent Democrats is breaking a sweat. But they did so by producing an ink splotch of a map that joins together communities that have nothing in common.
The only coherent arguments proponentscan make for the map are that this redistricting effort simply built on the old maps, which were also convoluted.
The virtue of working from the basis of the old maps, proponents say, is that two-thirds of voters will stay in the same districts. Starting from scratch, they claim, would lead to confusion among many voters about who represents them in Congress.
But the consequence is that while voters might know who their congressman is, they have no idea who represents their neighbors. That makes it more difficult for constituents to speak with a unified voice on issues that are important to them.
As for the fact that gerrymandering is the norm, there are signs that voters across the nation are getting fed up with it. Most notably, California instituted a new, non-partisan redistricting commission in advance of this year's elections that has made them more competitive than at any time in a generation.
Voting against Question 5 is the only clear way Maryland voters can signal to our elected leaders that we want that kind of change here.
If the maps are rejected at the polls, Maryland's members of the House of Representatives will serve for two years in the new districts anyway. During that time, the governor and General Assembly would have to produce new maps. Gov.