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Foes of congressional map meet target

Referendum likely after state board says group has enough signatures

July 11, 2012|By Annie Linskey, The Baltimore Sun

The map also upset many Republicans, in part because the Western Maryland district long represented by GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett was redrawn to include a large chunk of traditionally liberal Montgomery County. It is now considered one of the few House districts in the country that could go from red to blue this fall. O'Malley has won praise from national Democratic leaders for providing that opportunity.

Those who canvassed for signatures against the map said they found support simply by showing it to people — especially with the tangle of boundaries in the central part of the state.

The 3rd District, represented by Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes, is so misshapen it was described by a federal judge as "reminiscent of a broken-winged pterodactyl, lying prostrate across the center of the state."

There is precedent for Maryland voters to overturn a congressional map: In 1961, a group petitioned to referendum a map that increased the state's congressional delegation from seven members to eight. That year, four state laws were petitioned to referendum.

Before the current cluster of issues, the last law to be petitioned was Maryland's abortion rights statute. Voters in 1992 overwhelmingly upheld the law.

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

twitter.com/annielinskey

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