O’Malley confident map will hold up
Gov. Martin O’Malley said Monday he is confident his congressional redistricting proposal would stand up to a court challenge and argued that opposition to the proposal is limited.
The governor, who unveiled the congressional map Saturday, spoke as the General Assembly began what is expected to be a short special session to consider his proposal. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said during the conference that his chamber may hold an initial vote Monday.
“Redistricting is always very disruptive for incumbent elected officials,” O’Malley said. “What we have put forward is a map that is as balanced and as fair as we could make it, allowing for the tremendous strength that we have as a state in our diversity.”
O’Malley repeatedly described the map as “balanced” and said it “abides by the Voting Rights Act.” Noting the consternation that has surrounded the effort over the past several months, O’Malley joked he was glad the process is required only once a decade: “Thank goodness it’s not every two years.”
O’Malley’s proposal, which hewed closely to a map unveiled this month by the Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee, has come under fire from some Prince George’s and Montgomery County officials for changes they say would split up – and therefore dilute – minority voting power.
Rep. Donna F. Edwards, a Prince George’s County Democrat, is the most high-profile critic. Another group, the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee, has threatened to sue the state, arguing that the map would violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
The group is holding a press conference in Annapolis at noon.
Despite some controversy, the new map appears to be moving through the process quickly. The legislature will hold a joint hearing on the map Monday. Miller said the Senate would move first on the bill, potentially clearing an initial vote late Monday.