Judicial Watch, MDPetitions.com Seek to Protect Maryland Voter’s Right to Vote on Maryland’s Gerrymandered Congressional Redistricting Map
Maryland Democrats Seek to Keep Redistricting Plan Referendum off November Ballot
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Motion to Intervene on behalf of MDPetitions.com to defend in court a successful petition drive placing Maryland’s controversial new Congressional Districting Plan on the November 2012 ballot (Dennis Whitley, III, et al., v. Maryland State Board of Elections, et al., Case No. 02-C-12-171365). MDPetitions.com launched a successful petition drive to put the Congressional Districting Plan to a referendum in November 2012 because gerrymandered maps minimize the voting power of certain groups. Maryland Democrats filed a lawsuit to stop the referendum from going forward.
According to Judicial Watch’s motion:
As the sponsor of his successful petition, MDPetitions.com obviously has a compelling interest in ensuring that voters across the State of Maryland have the opportunity to vote on the Congressional Districting Plan in the November 2012 election. MDPetitions.com represents not only its own interests and the interests of its organizers and volunteers who worked to make the petition a success, but also the interests of the 59,201 confirmed registered voters who signed the petition in the exercise of their rights under Article XVI, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution.
On October 20, 2011, Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) signed the new Congressional Districting Plan into law, drawing heavy criticism from both political parties. Critics maintain the new congressional map is specifically designed to enhance the power of Democrat incumbents while minimizing the voting power of minorities, rural voters and Republicans.
As noted by a Washington Post editorial: “The map, drafted under Mr. O’Malley’s watchful eye, mocks the idea that voting districts should be compact or easily navigable. The eight districts respect neither jurisdictional boundaries nor communities of interest. To protect incumbents and for partisan advantage, the map has been sliced, diced, shuffled and shattered, making districts resemble studies in cubism.”
According to the Post, the “comical and controversial” redistricting plan has inspired stiff opposition from 4th District Rep. Donna Edwards and Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin, both African-American Democrats, because of its negative impact on Maryland’s minority citizens: “by balkanizing Montgomery [County], where minorities make up a narrow majority, as well as other minority-heavy areas, the new map dilutes the influence of black and Hispanic voters and prevents establishing a third district dominated by minorities.”
Delegate Neil Parrott, Chairman of MDPetitions.com said: “The people of Maryland have spoken. Now is the time to let the people vote. Unfortunately, the leadership of the Maryland Democrat Party is trying to thwart the will of the voters by trying to prevent the democratic referendum process from working.
“Voters all across the state worked diligently to allow Marylanders to vote on this bill, and MDPetitions.com looks forward to working with Judicial Watch again to defend each and every signature.”
“The last thing Governor O’Malley and certain Democrat powerbrokers want is for the people of Maryland to have a say on this gerrymandered Congressional District Plan, and that is why they are trying to keep it off the ballot,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “MDPetitions.com operated a successful petition drive and now Maryland citizens of both political parties have every right to vote up or down on Maryland’s new Congressional District Plan.”
MDPetitions.com previously initiated another successful petition drive to place on the 2012 ballot a policy enacted by Maryland public colleges and universities to provide discounted tuition for illegal alien students. Judicial Watch represented MDPetitions.com in a lawsuit that challenged the petition drive. In June, an appellate court ruled in favor of MDPetitions.com, paving the way for voters to decide the fate of tuition breaks for illegal aliens this November. MDPetitions.com was also part of the successful effort to place Maryland’s homosexual marriage law before voters on Election Day.