Redistricting is a process that uses population data to redraw electoral districts or boundary lines within a state based on changes in population. The process affects districts at various levels of government, including the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, city councils, county commissions or councils and local school boards.
Apportionment is a requirement of Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution that allocates the number of seats within the U.S. House of Representative to states based on their populations. Reapportionment does not involve the drawing of boundaries for specific congressional districts. Once the number of House representatives is determined, specific electoral districts from which representatives are to be elected are created through the process of redistricting. The U.S. Census Bureau must submit the apportionment results to the President of the United States by Dec. 31 of the Census year.
In accordance with P.L. (Public Law) 94-171, the U.S. Census Bureau must deliver the census data to each state within one year of collecting data for the decennial, or 10-year, census. Since the Census Day for population counting was held April 1, 2010, the Census Bureau must do so by April 1, 2011. Because of a new state law (See "What is the 'No Representation Without Population Act of 2010?'" below), Maryland will adjust the Census data given to the state by the U.S. Census Bureau.
As with all states, Maryland redistricts every 10 years after the decennial census is completed.
Both the Maryland Constitution and statutes are silent on the matter of congressional redistricting. Congress has given state legislatures authority to redistrict congressional seats. The congressional districts are required by federal law to be single member districts.. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act (Section 2) also apply to congressional redistricting. The Maryland congressional plan is introduced as a regular bill in the General Assembly and must be passed by both houses and signed by the Governor who has veto power over the plan.
Maryland, like every other state, has two U.S. senators.
Maryland has eight Congressional seats.
When Congress convenes in the year following the Census, the president must transmit to the state legislative body a statement of the apportionment of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representative among the states. The number of representatives allocated to each state is based on the Census results and determined by the "method of equal proportions." Each state is guaranteed at least one representative. The remaining 385 seats are divided among the states through a mathematical formula based on population.
Article III, Section 5 of the Maryland Constitution requires the Governor to prepare a legislative districting plan following the decennial census. The Governor must present the plan to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates. The presiding officers must have the plan introduced as a joint resolution on the first day of the regular session in the second year following the decennial census (In this case that will be January 11, 2012). If the General Assembly has not adopted another redistricting plan by the 45th day of the session, the Governor's plan as presented becomes law.
The Maryland General Assembly has 47 members in the State Senate who are apportioned equally based on the state's modified Census population in accordance with Maryland state law.
The Maryland General Assembly has 141 members in the House of Delegates.
The Delegate districts are "nested" within the Senate districts. In Maryland, there are 3 delegates for each Senate district. The Delegate districts may be a 3 member at-large district, a district subdivided into three single-member districts or a one single-member district and one multi-member district.
For the purposes of redistricting, the No Representation Without Population Act (the "Act) requires prisoners in state or federal prisons to be counted as residents of their last known address before incarceration. The Act also requires Maryland to exclude those federal or state prisoners who were not State residents prior to their incarceration from the count to determine legislative districts. The Act applies to legislative districts for the U.S. Congress, General Assembly, and county and municipal governing bodies.
This page was last updated: 2013-01-03