Redistricting panel for Md. shuts door to its meeting

August 14, 1991

The process of drawing eight new congressional districts for Maryland went behind closed doors yesterday.

The Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee opened by discussing a range of proposals, including one that would increase the number of black voters in a proposed suburban Washington district by pushing its southern boundaries further into Charles County.

But then Benjamin L. Brown, the committee's chairman, closed the meeting.

He has said that the committee can make its decisions more easily in private.

The committee is digesting extensive testimony taken during public hearings held across the state.

It also has numerous proposed district maps from elected public officials, individual citizens and two political parties.

During its open session, the panel was briefed about Attorney General J. Joseph Curran's ruling that census figures adjusted to reflect an undercount in Baltimore could be used to draw representative districts only if adjusted figures were used for the entire state and if the adjusted figures were proved to be more accurate.

Without the Census Department's numbers and no hope of getting them, Mr. Brown said, the committee could not prove the official figures wrong.

The committee's proposal is to be submitted to Gov. William Donald Schaefer by the end of this month. It would then go to the General Assembly for approval.

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