Redistricting is a poster child for the need for a state constitutional convention. If the Maryland General Assembly has no incentive to meaningfully reform a process from which it benefits so much, then a different institutional mechanism must be used to reform the process. To address such perverse incentives is why our Framers created the constitutional convention.
The sample commentary below is from one small newspaper in Maryland. I hope to soon add commentary from the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. Comments are listed chronologically.
Public opinion of Maryland’s redistricting Process
The problem here isn’t Democrats or Republicans…. The problem is that politicians will always put party interests over voter interests–unless the voters intervene.
–Editorial, Capital, October 6, 2011
[T]his process of redrawing political boundaries has nothing to do with what’s best for voters. It’s all about what’s best for the majority party and its incumbents.
–Editorial, Capital, October 8, 2011
The map of this district is an absolute “poster child” for the problems created by having a heavily partisan committee with an obvious conflict of interest formulating these boundaries.
–Steve Owens, Capital, October 8, 2011
Remember the expression, if you want something done right, do it yourself? Maryland voters are going to have to figure out a way to apply that to redistricting.
–Editorial, Capital, October 11, 2011
Given the fact that even our own elected politicians have sold their souls for political gain, it’s time for Maryland to adopt a nonpartisan process.
–Frank Salinger, Capital, October 11, 2011
The Governor’s plan is a horrendous plan created to protect the interest of the politicians.
–Del. Anthony O’Donnell, Capital, October 22, 2011
The proposed congressional redistricting–as so many observe–is about the most blatant, purely partisan, nearly criminal gerrymandering I’ve ever heard of…. We should can every legislator who approves it. No wonder Congress is so dysfunctional, ignoring the broad interests of the people by pandering to the extremes.
–Nield, Van K., Capital, October 21, 2011
When you’re in charge, there’s no incentive to change the rules, because, of course, you want to stay in charge…. To the victor belong the spoils.
–Eric Hartley, Capital, October 23, 2011
[N]o rational person would end up with the jigsaw puzzle the [Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee] did. Senate President Thomas Miller states, “There’s nothing you can do about it.” Really?
–Martin Leonka, Capital, October 24, 2011
Any Marylander who has seen the redistricting maps approved by Gov. Martin O’Malley should be embarrassed that they were passed by the state legislative bodies.
–Ben Rainey, Capital, October 26, 2011
Politicians should not pick their voters. What a shame to have public hearings and ignore the overwhelming response of your constituents. Hopefully someone will take this extreme noncontiguous districting to court and defeat them.
–Paul A. Sundell, Capital, October 27, 2011
To protect incumbents and for partisan advantage, the map has been sliced, diced, shuffled and shattered, making districts resemble studies in cubism.
–Editorial, Capital, October 29, 2011
[U]nless the Supreme Court reverses years of precedent and starts to crack down on partisan gerrymandering, it will be up to the voters to figure out a way to free the redistricting process from political abuse.
–Editorial, Capital, November 9, 2011
Take such shenanigans away from those who have a self vested interest and put this important work into the hands of those who can truly represent us the electorate.
–Laurent Deschamps, Capital, January 11, 2011
The decennial redistricting shows once again that, as Joseph Stalin was reputed to have said, “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.”
–Michael Collins, Capital, January 17, 2012