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Gerrymandering

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NEWS
January 14, 2012
Gerrymandering, as discussed in the op-ed piece by Nicholas Stephanopoulos ("Answer to the gerrymander," Jan. 10), is a significant problem in Maryland as indicated by the new congressional districts approved by the Maryland General Assembly last year. Maryland law should stipulate that districts should be compact as well as equal in population. Districts with unnecessarily peculiar and irregular shapes confuse voters and make it much more difficult for the public to relate effectively to their elected representatives.
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NEWS
March 24, 2014
After 45 years in Maryland, I sense something new and terrifying. The U.S. is experiencing the direct results of hard-nosed gerrymandering by computer ( "Adapting to a politically divided nation," March 18). Maryland may be the worst example. Our voting districts are designed, with mathematical certainty, to return incumbents to power. The result is that my congressional district looks like the work of a drunken spider. My member of Congress for years has needed a map to locate my town and has nothing in common with anyone I know.
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NEWS
October 21, 2011
As a victim of previous gerrymandering schemes in the Washington suburbs, I can only say that politicians and politics are out of control not only in Maryland but nationwide. Are state legislators and the governor completely blind to ethics as they toy with voters' districts, to their detriment? My suggestion to those who have been gerrymandered without consultation is to express their views at the next election and throw out the perpetrators of this political farce. Nelson Marans, Silver Spring
NEWS
October 30, 2013
The headline over The Sun's recent editorial regarding immigration asks, "Can GOP compromise on immigration?" (Oct. 29) Why should they? In 1986, President Ronald Reagan believed the Democratic Congress when they promised that if he signed the immigration reform legislation giving citizenship to the estimated 3 million illegal immigrants, the borders would be secured. Going against his instinctive belief in "trust but verify," he signed it. Now, with an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants once again claiming the right to citizenship, we know the "verify" never happens.
NEWS
October 14, 2011
In the 2000 Congressional redistricting cycle, it was determined by Maryland politicians in power that we should have six Democrats and two Republicans in the House of Representatives, not four from each political party as we did at the time. The lines were carefully redrawn to achieve that purpose and the effort was successful. Those in power manipulated the voters and the public went along with barely a whimper. Apparently, the current Maryland office holders from Gov. Martin O'Malley on down again have such little respect for the voters that they have proposed districts that are way out of line.
NEWS
June 29, 1993
That ink blot below is the 12th Congressional District of North Carolina, but it may not be for long. The Supreme Court ruled in a case yesterday that drawing irrational district lines to ensure blacks get seats in Congress is unconstitutional when it unfairly "dilutes or cancels out white voting strength." A trial court must now decide if that has occurred in North Carolina. It probably has.It probably has not occurred in Maryland. Maryland's Fourth Congressional District in southern Prince George's County and eastern Montgomery County has attributes the North Carolina 12th does not. More on that later.
NEWS
By Mark Grannis | October 18, 2011
As Maryland's General Assembly considers proposals for new congressional districts this week, plenty of people are upset about how the new lines might affect election outcomes. Few, it seems, have noticed that by gerrymandering voting districts, politicians have also gerrymandered our free press and other forms of political speech. The fact that incumbents use redistricting to make the world safe for incumbency is not surprising. Reporters, who know how the gerrymandering manipulates election results, may scoff at the suggestion that news coverage is also being manipulated.
NEWS
June 27, 2012
Organizations like ours are jumping for joy this week as theU.S. Supreme Courthas sided with our criminal justice efforts on two issues - ending both prison gerrymandering and juvenile life without parole rulings ("High court affirms redistricting map," and "Mandatory life terms for youth struck down," June 26). Having worked alongside impacted families and individuals that are affected by these two decisions, it is times like this that remind us our work is not in vain. Our work really does impact people - and reform can happen.
NEWS
July 3, 2013
Letter writer Joe Everett made a valid point about the Voting Rights Act but failed to see the bigger picture and the totally inequitable situation that needs to be addressed ("Where was the outcry when Md. voters were harmed?" June 27). In the last federal election, more people voted for Democratic congressional candidates than for Republicans. Yet Republicans came away with 33 more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and a big, unwarranted majority. Decades of gerrymandering by Republican governors in red states has had the perverse effect of minimizing the political clout of urban areas and their voters.
NEWS
By Nicholas Stephanopoulos | January 9, 2012
Maryland's new Sixth and Eighth Congressional Districts begin in the state's rugged northwest but then dive southeastward into suburban Montgomery County. The city of Baltimore is split between three new districts: the Second, Third, and Seventh. The new Fourth District joins heavily African-American Prince George's County with heavily white Anne Arundel County. Is there anything wrong with these sorts of districts? Democratically, the answer is yes. Representatives cannot serve their constituents' interests effectively when districts fuse or fragment distinct communities.
NEWS
October 28, 2013
President Barack Obama renewed his call to Congress last week for passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would "grow the economy and shrink our deficits" as well as strengthen border security, modernize the visa system and offer a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S. To show how serious he was about getting a bill he could sign, the president dropped his previous insistence that...
NEWS
July 16, 2013
While the usual suspects of Maryland politics, the candidates, the fundraisers, the loyalists, the lobbyists and groupies are dining on crabs and beer Wednesday at the annual J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield, a couple dozen volunteers will converge on Annapolis seeking something that seems always out of season in this state, whether it's summer, winter, spring or fall — congressional districts that aren't drawn like paint splatter....
NEWS
July 3, 2013
Letter writer Joe Everett made a valid point about the Voting Rights Act but failed to see the bigger picture and the totally inequitable situation that needs to be addressed ("Where was the outcry when Md. voters were harmed?" June 27). In the last federal election, more people voted for Democratic congressional candidates than for Republicans. Yet Republicans came away with 33 more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and a big, unwarranted majority. Decades of gerrymandering by Republican governors in red states has had the perverse effect of minimizing the political clout of urban areas and their voters.
NEWS
February 13, 2013
This Feb. 14, will mark the 93rd anniversary of the founding of the League of Women Voters, an organization that was built on the efforts to secure for women the right to vote and continues its work by providing information to all voters to ensure that the right is exercised effectively. In Maryland and many other states, the League of Women Voters is addressing a serious threat to the right to vote: gerrymandering. Last year's redistricting process created congressional districts that twist from one county to another, dividing communities and combining little portions of each with parts of counties many miles away, with very different interests.
NEWS
November 12, 2012
Letter writer Antonio W. Campbell's comments on Maryland's redistricting map were right on target ("Reject the Maryland gerrymander," Nov. 6). What concerns me is the continuing corruption of the voting process through malapportionment and gerrymandering. How can one's vote really count when districts get carved up into such bizarre ways that three members of Congress represent one neighborhood? People need to have equal representation in government, not lopsided districts just because one party wants an advantage.
NEWS
November 6, 2012
Kathleen Dumais' op-ed ("Md. congressional map is fair, legal," Oct. 29) contained several inaccuracies. I am very familiar with the redistricting process since I attended most of the public hearings conducted by the Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee (GRAC) last year, and Marylanders for Coherent and Fair Representation was the driving force in the federal court case challenging the governor's congressional redistricting plan based primarily on insufficient consideration of communities of interest.
NEWS
By David C. Saffell | December 6, 1990
AS WE approach the completion of the 1990 census and state officials begin to position themselves to redraw congressional and state legislative districts in 1991, we hear the usual cries of alarm about the evils of gerrymandering. I believe the problem is not nearly as bad as it is portrayed.Gerrymandering can be defined as the drawing of legislative districts to obtain partisan or factional advantage. The term was first used in 1812 when the Jeffersonians in the Massachusetts legislaDavid C.Saffellture split a county to dilute the strength of the Federalists.
NEWS
December 7, 1995
FEW CASES more aptly illustrate the interplay of law, public policy and raw politics than challenges to majority-black voting districts. Two of those challenges, from North Carolina and Texas, were argued before the Supreme Court this week, leaving a divided court to decide what role race should play in devising districts and, in fact, whether its previous decisions leave room for race to be a factor at all.The stakes are high, and not just for the minority...
NEWS
November 2, 2012
Del. Kathleen Dumais wrongly claims that redistricting reform in Maryland is impossible because "until such time that change occurs at the federal level, redistricting will continue to be a partisan, political process" ("Md. congressional map is far, legal," Oct. 30). The U.S. Constitution establishes how the size of each state's Congressional delegation shall be established but leaves it to each state to decide how its district lines will be drawn. California, for example, now has an independent Citizens Commission composed of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters who belong to neither major party.
NEWS
October 25, 2012
While I normally would be against the obscene redistricting that is being done for political purposes, resulting in voters being forced into voting for candidates who are not known to them and not in sync with the voters' desires, I still welcome the recent gerrymandering of Maryland's Congressional District 3. Several years ago, my immediate neighborhood was gerrymandered into a district that while adjacent (from District 8 to District 4) did not reflect the views of our area. I was outraged to have to contend with a representative that not only did not represent my needs but also those of most of my neighbors.
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