Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) unveiled an alternative version of the state’s redistricting map (see below) as the Maryland General Assembly prepares its special session. Governor Martin O’Malley unveiled his version of the map that he will be submitting to the legislature on Monday that is substantially the same as the Advisory Panel map released two weeks ago. The map unveiled today by Rep. Edwards demonstrates that it is possible to redraw the map to address concerns of diluting minority voting strength, while still achieving local and national goals. This new map achieves the goals set forth by Gov. O’Malley and his advisory panel, while increasing the minority voting representation in Congressional Districts 4 and 5.
The Edwards Alternative accomplishes the following:
1. Allows for the possibility of minority representation in one of the congressional districts in Montgomery County;
2. Unifies the Latino/Hispanic populations on the Montgomery-Prince George’s County border in one congressional district;
3. Enables a significant Asian population in North Potomac to remain as a cohesive unit in Congressional District 8;
4. Enables African American communities in Montgomery to remain in Congressional District 4 under the Voting Rights Act;
5. Strengthens the Black voting age population in Congressional Districts 4 and 5 and provides more cohesiveness in Prince George’s County;
5. Provides for a more competitive Congressional District 6 than was Congressional District 1 during the 2008 election cycle.
“This alternative map shows it is possible to address the concerns that I and several other leaders from Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties raised about minority interests as represented in both the Governor’s map and the Advisory Panel from which he deviated only slightly,” said Congresswoman Edwards. “Despite bringing to the Governor’s attention the fact that the state is prepared to act upon a map with which we will live for the next decade that deprives Montgomery County the prospects of minority representation in any of the three congressional districts in the County, the Democratic Party establishment is determined to act.
“Without the aid of the state’s tools and expertise, we have managed to produce a map that provides for minority representation in the minority-majority Montgomery County, consolidates a growing and heavily Asian population alongside their neighbors in the North Potomac area of Montgomery County, links African American populations in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, increases the African American population of Districts 4 and 5, respects the common interests of Latino/Hispanic communities along the common border of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and satisfies the political interests we have as Democrats of electing another Democrat to Congress in a district that is far more competitive than the 1st Congressional District on the Eastern Shore in which a Democrat won in 2008.
“While it is unfortunate that I stand alone in our congressional delegation in expressing concern for the interests at stake, there is no harm in a majority of one when it is necessary to right a wrong. I am grateful that several of our local legislative and community leaders are willing to match their courage with their convictions. Once again, I share the political interests that are at stake nationally and in our state But I also share our interest as Democrats to protect the voting rights of all people, and I continue to urge Gov. O’Malley and the General Assembly to do what is right for all Marylanders. I remain ready to work with them. In the absence of these ideas being incorporated into the Governor’s plan, the Edwards Alternative deserves a vote. Until the Maryland General Assembly takes a final vote, there is still time to take action to protect the voting strength of minority communities in our state. ”