ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – A test of Maryland’s new state legislative map began Wednesday, with Republicans challenging the new political boundaries alleging the map violates the Maryland Constitution.
The plaintiffs say the districts were drawn in favor of Democrats’ control of the legislature, where a boundary map for 188 General Assembly seats was passed this year.
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Strider Dixon, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, cites eight mid-state counties that he says violate constitutional requirements, namely that the boundaries be compact and essentially equal in population. Dixon also said counties must pay due attention to the natural boundaries and boundaries of political subdivisions.
“Most of these counties are not compact,” Dixon told Judge Alan Wilner. “Some are not sufficiently concerned with political subdivisions such as county lines, and one are not contiguous and do not care adequately with natural boundaries.”
On Wednesday, attorneys from the attorney general’s office who are defending the map called Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, as an expert on redistricting to do proof. Lichtman said he analyzed the map and compared it with other states, as well as a separate plan submitted by a panel supported by Republican Governor Larry Hogan.
Lichtman testified that the issue was not whether politics got involved as lawmakers drew the new map, but whether politics went too far to produce an unfair outcome.
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“I can conclude, through much analysis, that both the Senate plan enacted and the House plan enacted are partisan commanders,” Lichtman said.
Wilner, a retired judge appointed to the case, said he plans to send his final report early next month to the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, which will rule on the case. .
A separate case challenging the state’s new congressional map for Maryland’s eight seats in the US House of Representatives is currently being deliberated by a judge in Anne Arundel County Court. A decision could be made this week, although it is expected to be appealed regardless of the outcome.
Chief Justice Joseph Getty last week adjourned Maryland’s preliminary hearing for three weeks – from June 28 to July 19 – to give the court time to deal with the case.
On Tuesday, the Maryland State Board of Elections announced that the deadline to register to vote in the primary is now June 28. July 12 will be the deadline to request a mail-in ballot. Early voting is scheduled to take place from July 7 to July 14.
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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/23/trial-on-marylands-new-state-legislative-map-begins/ New Maryland State Legislative Map Test Begins – CBS Baltimore