Primary Authority: The Maryland General Assembly draws and enacts congressional plans, subject to the Governor’s veto. The General Assembly can override a veto with a 3/5 vote in each chamber. Democrats currently have a veto-proof majority in both chambers.
If a bill is presented to the Governor during session, the Governor has 6 days to sign or veto it; otherwise, it becomes law without signature. If it is delivered during the last 6 days of session, the Governor must sign or veto it within 30 days of transmittal; otherwise, it becomes law without signature. Sundays are excluded from these calculations.
Mapping Timeline: Not specified.
Redistricting Criteria: None.
Map Challenges: Not specified.
Primary Authority: The Maryland General Assembly draws and adopts legislative plans by joint resolution, not subject to the Governor’s veto. The Governor submits a proposed legislative plan to the General Assembly which becomes law if the General Assembly fails to adopt a plan by its deadline. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]
Mapping Timeline: The Governor must submit a proposed legislative plan to the General Assembly by the 1st day of the regular session in the second year following the decennial census. The General Assembly must adopt a final plan via joint resolution by the 45th day of the legislative session of that year; otherwise, the Governor’s plan automatically becomes law. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]
Redistricting Criteria: Contiguous; Compact; Substantially equal population; Due regard given to natural and political subdivision boundaries; 3 state House districts nested within each state Senate district. [Md. Const. art. III, §§ 3, 4]
Map Challenges: Filed in the Supreme Court of Maryland. Any registered voter can file a petition to have the Court review a legislative plan for compliance with federal and state constitutional requirements and appropriate relief. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]
Ballot Measure & Referendum Processes
Types of Measures: Initiatives are not permitted to amend statutes or the state constitution. Referendums are permitted to amend statutes. Legislatively initiated ballot measures may amend both statutes and the state constitution.
Single-Subject Rule: No.
Initiative Subject Restrictions: May not impact a law making any appropriation for maintaining the state government or for maintaining or aiding any public institution which does not exceed the previous appropriation for the same purpose.
Signature Requirements: Veto referendums require 3% of all votes cast for all candidates for Governor in the previous gubernatorial election. 2,005,223 people voted for a gubernatorial candidate in the 2022 general election in Maryland, so 60,157 signatures are required. Proponents may not collect more than 1/2 of their signatures from a single county or Baltimore City.
Submission Deadlines: For non-emergency bills signed into law more than 45 days prior to the 1st day of June following the session in which it was passed, referendum petitions with at least 1/3 of the requisite signatures must be filed by June 1. The remaining 2/3 of signatures must then be filed by June 30. For emergency bills or bills signed into law less than 45 days prior to the 1st day of June, referendum petitions with at least 1/3 of signatures must be filed within 30 days after the bill’s passage. An extension of 30 days can then be obtained to secure and file the remaining 2/3 of the signatures.
Ballot Title and Summary: Both written by the Secretary of State.
Other Requirements: A fiscal impact statement is not required. Circulators are required to be at least 18 years old. There are no supermajority requirements.
[Md. Const. art. XVI; Md. Code Ann., Elec. Law §§ 6-101 – 6-211, 7-101 – 7-105; Maryland State Board of Elections Website]
Previous Redistricting Cycles
- Original Plan – HB 1
- Passed = December 8, 2021 (D-controlled)
- Vetoed = December 9, 2021 (R-controlled)
- Veto Override = December 9, 2021
- Struck Down = March 25, 2022
- Litigation History
- Parrott v. Lamone, No. C02CV21001773 (Md. Cir. Ct., Anne Arundel Cty. Mar. 25, 2022): On December 21, 2021, a group of Maryland Voters filed a lawsuit challenging the state's enacted congressional redistricting plan as a partisan gerrymander in violation of various provisions of the Maryland Constitution and Declaration of Rights. On March 25, 2022, the circuit court struck down the enacted congressional plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander after interpreting Maryland’s Purity of Elections and Equal Protection Clauses to incorporate the state’s redistricting criteria for legislative districts as a standard for evaluating partisan gerrymandering claims against congressional districts. While the State initially appealed the decision, the General Assembly passed a remedial congressional plan on March 30 and, on April 4, the parties moved to voluntarily dismiss the appeal after the Governor agreed to sign the new congressional redistricting plan into law, which the court granted the same day.
- Szeliga v. Lamone, No. C02CV21001816 (Md. Cir. Ct., Anne Arundel Cty. Mar. 25, 2022): On December 21, 2021, a group of Maryland voters and Republican members of the Maryland General Assembly filed a lawsuit challenging the state's enacted congressional redistricting plan as a partisan gerrymander in violation of various provisions of the Maryland Constitution and Declaration of Rights. On March 25, 2022, the circuit court struck down the enacted congressional plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander after interpreting Maryland’s Purity of Elections and Equal Protection Clauses to incorporate the state’s redistricting criteria for legislative districts as a standard for evaluating partisan gerrymandering claims against congressional districts. While the State initially appealed the decision, the General Assembly passed a remedial congressional plan on March 30 and, on April 4, the parties moved to voluntarily dismiss the appeal after the Governor agreed to sign the new congressional redistricting plan into law, which the court granted the same day.
- Alban v. Lamone, Misc. No. 30 (Md. Mar. 1, 2022): On February 25, 2022, a group of Maryland voters filed a petition with the Maryland Court of Appeals challenging the state's enacted congressional redistricting plan as a partisan gerrymander in violation of several different provisions of the Maryland Declaration of Rights and Maryland Constitution. On March 1, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an order denying the petition without prejudice to the petitioners seeking leave to file amicus curiae briefs with the Court if and when the congressional plan challenges then pending in Maryland Circuit Court were before it.
- Original Plans – SJ 2
- Enacted = February 1, 2022 (D-controlled) (Joint resolution w/o Governor’s signature)
- Litigation History
- In re 2022 Legislative Districting, Misc. No. 21 (Md. Apr. 13, 2022): Between February 9 and February 11, 2022, several different groups of Maryland voters filed petitions with the Maryland Court of Appeals challenging the General Assembly's enacted legislative redistricting plan as violating various provisions of the Maryland Constitution and Maryland Declaration of Rights. Their claims included allegations of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering and violations of the Maryland Constitution’s compactness and respect for political subdivisions redistricting criteria. On April 13, the Court issued an order upholding the legislative plans as valid and denying the petitions, stating an opinion would follow.
- Original Plan – SB 1
- Passed = October 20, 2011 (D-controlled)
- Signed = October 20, 2011
- Referendum = Failed in 2012 election
- Litigation History
- Martin v. Maryland, No. 11-904 (D. Md. Oct. 27, 2011): Plaintiff-resident of Maryland filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Maryland and its Governor seeking an injunction ordering that the state’s congressional redistricting be based upon districts with 30,001 citizens in each, thereby increasing the number of congressional seats the state would have. On October 27, 2011, the district court dismissed the action on the grounds it was a non-justiciable political question.
- Martin v. Maryland, No. 11-3443 (D. Md. Feb. 9, 2012): The same plaintiff brought the same lawsuit asserting the same claims, although slightly modified. On February 9, 2012, the district court again dismissed the action as a non-justiciable political question.
- Fletcher v. Lamone, 831 F.Supp.2d 887 (D. Md. 2011): A group of African-American voters filed a federal lawsuit challenging Maryland’s enacted congressional plan, asserting claims of vote dilution and intentional discrimination in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the 14th and 15th Amendments, and Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, along with a challenge to Maryland’s law aimed at ending prison gerrymandering. On December 23, 2011, the district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, upholding the plan and law after finding the plaintiffs failed to sufficiently establish the alleged violations.
- Aff’d, 133 S.Ct. 29 (2012)
- Gorrell v. O’Malley, No. 11-2975 (D. Md. Jan. 19, 2012): A Maryland voter filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s enacted congressional plan alleging that the plan unconstitutionally separated the community of interest of farmers, was a gerrymander, employs an overly strict equal population rule, and was enacted through a procedure that violated state constitutional and statutory guidelines. On January 19, 2012, the district court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim for which relief could be granted.
- Olson v. O’Malley, No. 12-240 (D. Md. Mar. 5, 2012): A group of Maryland voters filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s enacted congressional plan as violating state constitutional and statutory provisions by giving insufficient consideration to contiguity, compactness, and political subdivisions, and in violated such Maryland law the plan violated the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. On March 5, 2012, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants, finding that the state constitutional provision cited only applied to legislative redistricting, and thus the due process claim must also fail.
- Parrott v. Lamone, No. 15-1849 (D. Md. Aug. 24, 2016): A group of Maryland voters challenged the state’s enacted congressional plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander that transferred the power to select representations from all Maryland voters to the Maryland General Assembly in violation of the 5th and 14th Amendments’ Due Process Clauses and Article I, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. On August 24, 2016, the district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on the grounds the plaintiffs failed to sufficiently allege standing because they could not allege an invasion of a legally protected interest.
- Benisek v. Lamone I, 577 U.S. 39 (2015) (formerly Shapiro v. McManus): A group of Maryland voters and other interested parties filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s enacted congressional plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander in violation of the 1st Amendment, the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the Elections Clause, and Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. The district court originally denied the plaintiffs’ request for a three-judge court to hear their case and instead dismissed the action on the grounds that no relief could be granted on their claims. On December 8, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case back to district court, stating that a three-judge court must be convened in a statewide challenge to a redistricting plan unless the claims are wholly insubstantial or frivolous, which these claims were not.
- Benisek v. Lamone II, 139 S.Ct. 2484 (2019) (consolidated with Rucho v. Common Cause): The Benisek plaintiffs’ partisan gerrymandering claims were consolidated with similar partisan gerrymandering claims brought against North Carolina’s congressional plan and appealed up to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 27, 2019, the Supreme Court held that partisan gerrymandering claims presented non-justiciable political questions beyond the reach of federal courts because there existed no judicially manageable standards to adjudicate them.
- Governor’s Plans – HJR 1 (House); SJR 1 (Senate)
- Enacted = February 24, 2012 (Became law after General Assembly failed to pass own plans)
- Litigation History
- In the Matter of 2012 Legislative Districting of the State, 80 A.3d 1073 (Md. Ct. App. 2013): After the governor’s legislative plans became enacted, three different petitions were filed challenging the plans’ constitutionality on various grounds, including the use of multi-member districts and districts that crossed county lines, ignoring natural and political subdivision boundaries, racial and political gerrymandering, and compactness. On December 10, 2013, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an opinion explaining its reasoning for its November 7, 2012 order upholding the plans as constitutionally valid.
- Bouchat v. State, No. 15-2417 (D. Md. Sep. 7, 2016): A Maryland voter and unsuccessful candidate in the 2014 election filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s enacted legislative plans as unconstitutional, alleging that the plans’ use of multi-member districts and districts that cross county lines violated various state and federal constitutional provisions, in addition to partisan gerrymandering claims. On September 7, 2016, the district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on the grounds the plaintiff’s claims were barred by res judicata since the plaintiff had already brought and lost on similar claims in the 2012 Legislative Districting of the State case.
- Original Plan – SB 805
- Passed = April 4, 2002 (D-controlled)
- Signed = May 6, 2002
- Litigation History
- Duckworth v. State Admin Bd. of Election Laws, 332 F.3d 769 (4th Cir. 2003): Plaintiff Maryland voter sued various state officials and agencies challenging the state’s enacted congressional plan on the grounds several districts were bizarrely drawn partisan gerrymanders in violation of the 1st and 14th Amendments and were malapportioned in violation of Article I, Section 2’s one person, one vote principle. After the district court dismissed all of the claims, the plaintiff appealed as to the 14th Amendment partisan gerrymandering claim, and on June 19, 2003, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment that the plaintiff failed to state a claim.
- Kimble v. Willis, No. 02-2984 (D. Md. June 10, 2004): A Maryland voter sued state officials and the state elections board challenging the 4th Congressional district in the enacted plan as violating the one person, one vote requirement of Article I, Section 2 and as a racial gerrymander. On June 10, 2004, the district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case after finding the plaintiff failed to sufficiently allege facts to state his claims.
- Original Plans – HJR 3 (House); SJR 3 (Senate)
- Effectuated = February 22, 2002 (D-controlled General Assembly failed to pass own map)
- Enacted = May 16, 2002
- Litigation History
- In the Matter of Legislative Districting of the State, 805 A.2d 292 (Md. Ct. App. 2002): After the state’s legislative plans were enacted, fourteen different petitions were filed challenging the plans’ constitutionality on a number of grounds, including violations of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, the Voting Rights Act, and the redistricting criteria laid out in the state constitution. On June 11, 2002, the Maryland Court of Appeals concluded that substantial portions of the plans violated the state constitution’s redistricting criteria and were therefore invalid and assumed responsibility for drafting a new plan. On June 21, 2002, the court issued its new legislative redistricting plans and on August 26, 2002, it issued an opinion explaining those plans.
In The News
- Just-Released Opinion Reveals Md. High Court Approved Redistricting by Single Vote, The Daily Record (9/1/22)
- Court of Appeals Upholds Legislative Map Passed by General Assembly, Maryland Matters (4/13/22)
- New Congressional Map Approved in Maryland; 1st Map Dropped, AP (4/5/22)
- Maryland Lawmakers Approve Redone Congressional Map, AP (3/30/22)
- New Congressional Redistricting Plan Unveiled in Maryland Senate, Hearing Set for Early Tuesday, Maryland Matters (3/28/22)
- Finding ‘Extreme’ Gerrymandering in Maryland’s New Congressional Map, Judge Orders Do-Over, The Baltimore Sun (3/25/22)
- Court Delays Maryland's Primary Elections to Review District Maps, UPI (3/16/22)
- Maryland Court Blocks Effort by Dem Campaign Committee to Defend Gerrymandered Congressional Map, Fox News (2/15/22)
- Group Files Lawsuit Against New State Legislative Districts, AP (2/10/22)
- House of Delegates Gives Final Approval to Legislative Redistricting Plan, Maryland Matters (1/27/22)
- Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Seeks to Intervene in Md. Redistricting Lawsuit, Maryland Matters (1/25/22)
- House Committee Approves Legislative Redistricting Plan, Setting Stage for Floor Debate, Maryland Matters (1/25/22)
- Senate Sends Legislative Redistricting Proposal to House, Maryland Matters (1/20/22)
- Senate Committee Approves Legislative Redistricting Map; Rejects Map Backed by Hogan, WYPR (1/19/22)
- Md. Senate Committee Advances Legislative Redistricting Proposal, WTOP (1/18/22)
- Maryland Redistricting Panel Advances New Map for General Assembly Districts, The Baltimore Sun (1/7/22)
- State Legislators, Voters Sue Maryland Over Allegedly Gerrymandered Congressional Map Helping Democrats, Fox News (12/24/21)
- Parrott and Conservative Group Judicial Watch File Lawsuit Over Maryland Congressional Redistricting, Maryland Matters (12/22/21)
- Md. Panel Releases District Map that Helps Vulnerable Democrats, Reduces Baltimore Clout, WTOP (12/21/21)
- General Assembly Overrides Hogan’s Veto of Congressional Redistricting Plan, Maryland Matters (12/9/21)
- Maryland Democrats Send New Congressional Map to Gov. Hogan, The Baltimore Sun (12/8/21)
- Maryland Lawmakers Override Immigrant Detention Bill Veto, AP (12/8/21)
- Md. Redistricting Arm Advances Map that Would Make Rep. Andy Harris’s More Competitive for Democrats, The Washington Post (11/23/21)
- Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission Releases Four ‘Concept’ Congressional Maps for Public Comment, Maryland Matters (11/9/21)
- General Assembly to Hold Special Session to Consider Redistricting Maps, WBAL (11/5/21)
- Md. Citizens Redistricting Commission Finalizes Congressional, Legislative Maps, Maryland Matters (11/4/21)
- It’s Map Drawing Time. Citizens Redistricting Commission Opens Public Submissions, Maryland Matters (9/3/21)
- Prince George’s Residents Urge Redistricting Commission to Keep Communities Whole, Maryland Matters (7/29/21)
- Maryland Assembly Expects to Start Congressional Redistricting Work in Early December, WTOP News (7/24/21)
- Top Maryland Democrats Launch Redistricting Commission Ahead of New Election Maps, The Baltimore Sun (7/8/21)
- Northern Maryland Residents Urge Redistricting Commission to Keep Communities Whole in Proposed Maps, Maryland Matters (6/16/21)
- Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission Announces Members, The Southern Maryland Chronicle (4/15/21)
- Political Notes: New Committee Assignments, Olson Named to Redistricting Commission, The Frederick News-Post (1/14/21)
- Hogan Announces Legislative Redistricting Commission, AP (1/12/21)
- Gov. Hogan Urges Marylanders to Complete 2020 Census Ahead of Deadline, CBS Baltimore (9/3/20)
- Bipartisan Group of State Leaders Urge Marylanders to Take Census Before Sept. 30 Deadline, Maryland Matters (8/28/20)