Partisan redistricting undermines representative democracy [Letter]

November 17, 2013

I read with interest the recent article "Carroll conservatives clash with Van Hollen" (Nov. 12). I could readily relate to Carroll County Republican Bill Schroeder's statement — "We have nothing in common with Montgomery County — absolutely nothing" — concerning his representative, Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who lives in and primarily represents Montgomery Co. And, according to the article, that county "accounts for most of the district's population."

I live in Howard County and am represented by Elijah Cummings who also represents much of Baltimore City. I'm in the same boat. Over the years, the repeated redistricting referred to in the article has served the purpose for which it was intended: to divide Republican voters. This ensured that previously conservative districts, represented by conservative representatives, were now diluted to make a new district with a Democratic majority.

Apparently Mr. Van Hollen, along with other Democratic colleagues, have greatly benefited from this. It's a matter of what's best for advancing the party agenda, not necessarily what's best for fulfilling the needs and desires of the actual people who are being represented. I was previously a registered Democrat, am now a registered Republican and am on my way to becoming a registered independent. There's no doubt in my mind that similar methods have been used by the Republican Party in other jurisdictions to attain or maintain their majority.

It doesn't matter to me who does it. The bottom line is, it's cheating and it is the antithesis of what a representative democracy is meant to be. Obviously, our congressmen, either on a state or national level, see no problem with this so, for me, the real problem lies therein.

Susan M. Lancelotta, Sykesville

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