Anti-gerrymandering coalition stays alive

Anti-gerrymandering coalition stays alive

Photo above: Second place winner Alexander Mui, Dels. Ron George, Aisha Braveboy, and first place winner Matthew Kurdt

The first place cartoon was drawn by Matthew Kurdt, a Frederick native studying art and design at Frostburg State University.

First place cartoon by Matthew Kurdt

They may be “tilting at windmills” as one commented, but a coalition of good government groups is trying to keep their push for reform of political redistricting alive in the 2014 campaign.

On Friday, they awarded the cash prizes for their cartoon contest to illustrate the odd shapes of Maryland’s congressional districts, tied with North Carolina for having the most gerrymandered districts in the country, according to a Washington Post story last month.

The Tame the Gerrymander coalition made up of Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and the National Council of Jewish Women Annapolis Section also honored eight legislators for sponsoring bills to change the current redistricting process.

They included Del. Aisha Braveboy, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, and Del. Ron George, a Republican candidate for governor. The other lawmakers recognized at the event included Sens. Delores Kelley, Allan Kittleman, and Norman Stone and Dels. Patrick Hogan, Susan McComas, and Heather Mizeur, a Democratic candidate for governor.

Proposed 3rd district

Not a cartoon: The new lines of the 3rd Congressional District, second most convoluted in the nation.

The Tame the Gerrymander Coalition has a series of events planned for the rest of the year to continue to bring attention to this critical issue.

Ralph Watkins, representing the League of Women Voters of Maryland, said on July 17 the group will hold a birthday party in Lawyer’s Mall at the State House for Elbridge Gerry, the Massachusetts governor who was the inspiration for the term gerrymander. They held a similar party last year.

In September, Watkins said, “We will profile how absurd our congressional districts have become by hosting a relay run around [Congressional] District 3, one of the most contorted districts in the nation. We also plan to hold a forum later in the year that will focus on solutions that would move Maryland forward.”

Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, said, “Gerrymandered districts create situations where all votes are not equal. They also make it difficult for legislators to know and represent their constituents, and undermine confidence in the democratic process.”

“Our elected officials must take action, and we will be the wasp at the garden party until they do,” said Carol Ann Hecht of the National Council of Jewish Women.

–Len Lazarick



About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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