Maryland

Overview

Maryland Redistricting Process

Congressional

Congressional maps are enacted by the State General Assembly. The Governor submits one plan for congressional districts to the General Assembly which is prepared and delivered to the Governor by the advisory, nine-member Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Governor can veto a plan adopted by the General Assembly.

The General Assembly can override a veto with a three-fifths vote. Democrats currently have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

Challenges to the maps are litigated in the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The Governor initially appoints one registered Democratic voter, one registered Republican voter, and one voter registered with neither party. The remaining six commissioners are selected through a public application process, with the Governor appointing two registered Democratic voters, two registered Republican voters, and two registered with neither party out of the applicant pool. The governor appoints one or more members to chair the Commission. Appointees must have been continuously registered with their party or not with any party for the last three years immediately preceding their appointment. Appointees cannot be a representative, candidate, or staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives, the Maryland General Assembly, or the Governor's office, an officer or employee of a political party or political committee, or a current registered lobbyist.

The Commission shall hold meetings at such times and places as it deems necessary to enable full consideration of and input as to the establishment of legislative and congressional districts, and to encourage citizen outreach and broad public participation in the redistricting process, and all meeting must be open and accessible to the general public in accordance with Maryland's Open Meeting laws. The Commission must conduct regional summits to allow citizens to offer comments on the boundaries of districts, as well as provide an electronic portal for citizens to review redistricting data and submit their comments about redistricting. The Commission may create committees and designate otherwise qualified individuals with relevant experience to serve thereon, and it may consult with units of State government and outside experts to get technical assistance and advice as it deems necessary to complete its duties. After receiving sufficient input from the public, experts, committees, and other interested persons, at least 7 commissioners must vote to approve and certify its proposed legislative and congressional redistricting plans and maps. The proposed plans and maps are then publicized in a manner reasonably designed to achieve broad public availability and access and the Commission accepts and reviews comments about them. After publicizing, reviewing, and making any appropriate adjustments to the proposed plans and maps, at least 7 commissioners must vote to approve and certify the final redistricting plans. The final plans and maps are submitted to the Governor, along with a report that explains the basis for the Commission's decisions and includes definitions of the terms and standards used for each plan. The Governor then transmits the final plans and maps for introduction in the General Assembly.

Both sets of the Commission's redistricting plans must respect natural boundaries and existing political subdivisions to the extent practicable, be geographically compact and include nearby areas of population to the extent practicable. The plans shall not account for how individuals are registered to vote, how individuals voted in the past, the political party to which individuals belong, or the domicile or residence of any individual, including an incumbent officeholder or a potential candidate for office.

Legislative

The Governor submits one plan for legislative districts to the General Assembly at the start of the session after holding at least one public hearing. The original map becomes law if the General Assembly fails to enact its own plan within 45 days. The Governor can veto a plan adopted by the General Assembly. The General Assembly can override a veto with a three-fifths vote. Democrats currently have veto-proof majorities in both chambers. Challenges to the maps are litigated in the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The Governor's legislative district plan is prepared, approved and delivered to the Governor by the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission in the same manner as congressional plans are, described above.

Source: Md. Const. art. III, § 5; Executive Order 01.01.2021.02


Ballot Measure Process

Kinds of Ballot Measures
Initiatives are not permitted to amend statutes, but referendums are permitted. Initiatives are not permitted to amend the state Constitution. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the Constitution.

Single-Subject Rule
There is not a single-subject rule.

Initiative Subject Restrictions
May not impact a law making any appropriation for maintaining the State Government, or for maintaining or aiding any public institution, not exceeding the next previous appropriation for the same purpose.

Signature Requirements
The signature requirement for veto referendums is 3% of all votes cast for all candidates for governor in the previous gubernatorial election. 2,304,512 people voted for a candidate for governor in the 2018 General Election in Maryland, so 69,135 signatures are required for veto referendums. Proponents cannot collect more than half of their signatures in a single county or Baltimore city.

Submission Deadlines
Unless a bill is approved by a three-fifths supermajority in the General Assembly and labeled as an emergency bill, all bills passed by the General Assembly go into effect on the first day of June in the year following the legislative session in which the bill was passed. For emergency bills or bills passed less than 45 days before June 1, referendum petitioners have until 30 days after the bill is passed by the General Assembly to turn in the first one-third of required signatures. If this is accomplished, they have 30 more days to collect and submit the remaining two-thirds of the signatures.

Ballot Title and Summary
The Ballot Title and Summary are written by the Secretary of State.

Other Requirements
A fiscal impact statement is not required. There are no circulator restrictions. There are no supermajority requirements.

Source: Md. Const. art. XVI. Maryland State Board of Elections Website


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