Among the reasons for the gridlock we face in national politics these days is the fact that an unnatural number of congressional districts are “safe seats,” with boundaries drawn up so that one party or the other will make up a majority in as many districts as possible. It’s a practice known as “Gerrymandering.”
A consequence of this practice is that representatives can be elected and hold extreme ideological positions that please the majority in their district, with no incentive to appeal to the electoral minority through compromise or moderation.
While this is a national-level problem, control of redistricting is in the hands of state legislatures, therefore it is highly relevant to the Maryland General Assembly.
Maryland, as it happens, sports one of the most politically mangled maps in the nation. Several Democratic Maryland lawmakers have indicated that they’re opposed to Gerrymandering, but are not inclined to “unilaterally disarm” by abandoning the process while it is still used to the benefit of Republicans in states like Virginia or North Carolina.
My view is that if it’s wrong for Republicans to do it in Virginia, it’s wrong for Democrats to do it in Maryland. Period. We should establish an independent, nonpartisan, commission to oversee future redistricting.
We must make it as easy as possible for citizens to vote and to register to vote, and should be wary of any attempts to block voting or kick registered voters off the rolls.
I support automatic voter registration for all citizens on their 18th birthday, expanding Early Voting sites, continuing the use of verifiable paper ballots, and will fiercely oppose any “voter ID” laws such as have been introduced in other states.