ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Martin O’Malley has introduced a legislative redistricting map that largely follows an advisory committee’s recommendations, which were issued in late December.
The map, however, does not establish a majority-Hispanic district in Montgomery County, a move the committee had recommended as an “option.”
Mapmakers said in December that the Hispanic population in Montgomery County was not large enough to justify a majority district and that packing Hispanic voters into one area would disenfranchise their ability to elect representatives of their choosing across the county.
Minorities make up about 50 percent of the county’s population, with Hispanics and blacks each accounting for about 17 percent of the population.
The federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires that legislatures refrain from drawing maps that weaken minority voting strength.
The governor’s map, however, does follow the committee’s recommendation in creating a majority-Hispanic district in Prince George’s County, the first ever in Maryland, and increases the number of majority black districts from 10 to 12.
O’Malley also maintained a district that would cross from Baltimore city into western Baltimore County.
The move, which would redraw the 44th District across the city/county line to make up for the loss of more than 30,000 residents from the city’s population in the past decade, mapmakers said.
The legislature has 45 days to modify O’Malley’s map. If they choose to take no action, the plan will take effect immediately at that point.