In Baltimore County, redrawing the lines for state legislative districts is far more than a partisan battle. It is, at its core, a matter of whether the county's growing African American population will be equitably represented in Annapolis. The plan approved by the county's Senate and House delegations is, however, little more than tokenism: It simply takes a block of black voters out of the 11th District and attaches that "sub-district" to the 10th.
Since all the 11th District delegates are Democrats, and all those in the 10th are Republicans, the brouhaha over partisanship which has come in its wake is understandable. But it misses the point: While the configuration would almost certainly result in one black delegate from the new 10th, the plan also dilutes minority voting strength in the 11th, now 40 percent black, virtually ensuring not more than one black representative would go to Annapolis, and that there would not be a large enough black constituency in the reconfigured 11th to elect an African American senator. The inequity is underscored by a national NAACP analysis showing the Liberty Road area of the 11th District is capable of electing two blacks to the statehouse. Additionally, if demographic trends hold, the current 11th could be capable of electing an African American senator as well before the next Census.