On December 21, 2021, a group of Maryland voters and Republican members of the Maryland General Assembly filed a state lawsuit against the Maryland State Board of Elections, its State Administrator, and its Chair, challenging the state's enacted congressional redistricting plan as violating the Maryland Constitution and Declaration of Rights. Plaintiffs generally allege that the enacted congressional plan is a partisan gerrymander designed to favor Democrats and disfavor Republicans and to achieve this partisan result, the General Assembly drew incredibly noncompact districts that fail to respect geographic and political boundaries. Specifically, plaintiffs first assert that the partisan plan violates Article 7 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, which provides that "elections ought to be free and frequent" and that "every [qualified] citizen . . . ought to have the right of suffrage," because it seeks to predetermine election outcomes and dilutes the voting strength of Republican voters. Second, plaintiffs allege that by passing a partisan gerrymander designed to manipulate electoral outcomes, the General Assembly's plan violates Article I, Section 7 of the Maryland Constitution, which provides that the General Assembly "shall pass [l]aws necessary for the preservation of the purity of [e]lections." Third, they assert that the plan violates the equal protection principles of Article 24 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights by intentionally discriminating against Republican voters and infringing upon their fundamental right to vote on the basis of their political affiliation. Finally, plaintiffs assert that the plan also violates the freedom of speech protections of Article 40 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights by intentionally benefitting Democratic voters as preferred speakers and targeting Republican voters as disfavored speakers based on the views they express when voting. Plaintiffs are seeking a judicial declaration that the enacted congressional plan is unconstitutional, an injunction barring the defendants from using the plan in any future elections, and a court order requiring the defendants to delay or postpone candidate filing deadlines until the General Assembly enacts a new, lawful redistricting plan.
Maryland Circuit Court, Anne Arundel County - No. C02CV21001816
- Complaint - 12/23/21