Dear Community Member,
We have the opportunity to establish a more neutral redistricting procedure here in Montgomery County. The Montgomery County Council is reviewing a recommendation by the Charter Review Commission (CRC) to make modest changes to the redistricting procedure used to establish the county council districts. Since the changes would be an amendment to the county charter, it would require approval by the voters as a ballot measure in November. Council approval is required to place the measure on the ballot.
The League of Women Voters supports a fair and open redistricting process conducted by a neutral commission and is a member of the Tame the Gerrymander Coalition that is working to establish a fair and open process for drawing election districts in Maryland. This modest proposal has the potential to create a less-partisan process for Montgomery County.
The Council is holding a public hearing about this recommendation on Tuesday, July 10 at 1:30 pm. LWVMC plans to testify in support of placing this amendment on the November ballot.
The Council also needs to hear from you as a Montgomery County voter. Send an email to all Councilmembers at County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov. Ask them to place the Charter Review Commission’s recommended amendment to the redistricting procedure on the November ballot. If you can, attend the hearing as a show of support.
The current procedure for determining the boundaries of the councilmanic districts calls for the establishment of a nine-member Redistricting Commission every ten years with members chosen from a list of candidates submitted by the Democratic and Republican Central Committees, plus one additional member appointed by the Council.
The revised procedure:
- expands the Redistricting Commission to eleven members - creating opportunities for Unaffiliated voters who now comprise 22% of the Montgomery County electorate to participate,
- replaces the role of the central committees in the nomination process with a self-nomination process that may result in more civic-minded and less-partisan commission members, and
- establishes a requirement that at least one member of the commission reside in each council district.
More details may be found in the June 8, 2018 CRC report to the Council.
Help us begin redistricting reform, starting at the local level. Please send an email to all Councilmembers at County.Council@MontgomeryCountyMD.gov in support of the CRC’s recommendations and help us make a strong statement by joining us at the hearing. We encourage you to share this request with others as well.