Redistricting still an embarrassment

November 09, 2012

The outcome of the recent referendum notwithstanding, the process and result of congressional redistricting in Maryland was a disgrace and remains a badge of shame for the state ("Against Question 5," Nov. 6). It would be hard to imagine a clearer case of politicians choosing their voters, rather than the other way around, undermining the fundamental purpose of the election process. But that was the only transparent part of this exercise, since the actual wording of the referendum question seemed intended to mislead.

A "yes" vote was not presented as an endorsement of the recent gerrymander but as establishing the boundaries of the state's U.S. congressional districts based on recent census figures, as required by the U.S. Constitution. What sensible citizen would support an unconstitutional outcome — unless that citizen had already been elected to office in Maryland? If John Sarbanes' 3rd District map were superimposed on a 20-year-old map of South Africa, a reasonable observer would take for granted that such a political alignment was intended to undermine the political rights of the unfortunates collected there.

And so it was, and so it is.

John Walsh, Washington, D.C.

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