This site is managed by Colorado Law Professor Doug Spencer while Prof. Levitt is on leave for government service. More info.
Prof. Justin Levitt's Doug Spencer's Guide to Drawing the Electoral Lines

State Summary

Maryland’s congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

For state legislative lines, the Governor submits a proposed plan at the start of the legislative session.  In January 2021, the Governor established a nine-person advisory commission to assist with the process (and also to draft a proposed congressional map).  The Governor will appoint one member of each major party and one registered with neither; those three will in turn appoint two other members of each major party and two registered with neither, from public applications.  Commissioners will not be candidates for or employees of state or federal legislative office, party employees, or lobbyists; the commission will not consider voting patterns or candidate residence.  The state legislature may adopt, modify, or ignore the commission’s proposals. The current commission members for the 2020 cycle are listed here.

If the state legislature does not successfully pass a joint resolution (without the possibility of gubernatorial veto) to redraw state legislative lines within 45 days, the Governor’s plan becomes law. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]

In the 2010 cycle, the legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 1) on Oct. 20, 2011, which was signed by the Governor the same day.  A referendum campaign placed the plan on the ballot; that referendum was defeated, and the maps were approved, in the Nov. 2012 elections.  For state legislative districts, on Jan. 11, 2012, the Governor released state Senate (SJR 1) and state House (HJR 1) plans; without legislative action in the next 45 days, the Governor’s proposal became law on Feb. 24, 2012.

,

Seats: (projected)

Institution:

Drawn by:

Plan Status:

Party Control:
  Upper House:
  Lower House:
  Governor:

Key Info for 2000 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Md. Const. art. III, §§ 3-5; Md. Code, State Gov’t, § 2-201

Key Info for 2010 Cycle

Website

Primary governing law

Md. Const. art. III, §§ 3-5; Md. Code, State Gov’t, § 2-201

Key Info for 2020 Cycle

Primary governing law

Md. Const. art. III, §§ 3-5; Md. Code, State Gov’t, § 2-201

Data

Website

Download Data for ,

Shapefile GeoJSON PDF

Shapefile source:

The Latest Updates

May 5, 2021
The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission held its first meeting on May 5, 2021.
Apr 15, 2021
The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission announced the selection of its final six members.

Institution

Maryland’s congressional lines are drawn by the state legislature, as a regular statute, subject to gubernatorial veto.

For state legislative lines, the Governor submits a proposed plan at the start of the legislative session.  In January 2021, the Governor established a nine-person advisory commission to assist with the process (and also to draft a proposed congressional map).  The Governor will appoint one member of each major party and one registered with neither; those three will in turn appoint two other members of each major party and two registered with neither, from public applications.  Commissioners will not be candidates for or employees of state or federal legislative office, party employees, or lobbyists; the commission will not consider voting patterns or candidate residence.  The state legislature may adopt, modify, or ignore the commission’s proposals. The current commission members for the 2020 cycle are listed here.

If the state legislature does not successfully pass a joint resolution (without the possibility of gubernatorial veto) to redraw state legislative lines within 45 days, the Governor’s plan becomes law. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]

The Maryland constitution vests original jurisdiction in the state Supreme Court (known as the Court of Appeals) for review of state legislative lines in state court. There is no similar provision for congressional lines. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]

Timing

Maryland state law does not impose a particular deadline for drawing congressional lines, though candidates must file for congressional primary elections by Feb. 22, 2022. [Md. Code, Election Law, § 5-303(a)]  The legislative session began on Jan. 13, 2021, and is currently scheduled to end on Apr. 12, 2021.

For state legislative lines, if the state legislature does not pass a joint resolution within 45 days of the start of the session two years after the federal Census is conducted, the Governor’s proposal will become law; because the session will begin on Jan. 13, 2022, that 45-day deadline will be Feb. 27, 2022. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]  However, candidates must file for state legislative primary elections by Feb. 22, 2022.  [Md. Code, Election Law, § 5-303(a)]

The Maryland constitution ties the drawing of state legislative lines to the Census, and might therefore be construed to prohibit redrawing lines mid-decade; there is no similar provision pertaining to congressional lines. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]

Public input

The Maryland constitution requires public hearings before the Governor submits a proposed state legislative plan to the legislature. [Md. Const. art. III, § 5]

Criteria

Like all states, Maryland must comply with constitutional equal population requirements. [Md. Const. art. III, § 4Legislative Redistricting Cases, 629 A.2d 646 (Md. 1993)] Maryland will adjust census data for both congressional and state legislative districts in order to count incarcerated individuals at their last known residence before incarceration. [Md. Code, State Gov’t, § 2-2A-01; Md. Code, Election Law, § 8-701]

Maryland must also, like all states, abide by the Voting Rights Act and constitutional rules on race.

The Maryland constitution further requires that state legislative districts be contiguous and compact, and that they give “due regard” for political boundaries and natural features. There are no similar provisions for congressional districts. [Md. Const. art. III, § 4In re Legislative Districting, 475 A.2d 428 (Md. 1984)]  Three state representatives are elected from each state Senate district; the three state representatives may be elected from a multimember district, or from three state House districts nested within a state Senate district. [Md. Const. art. III, § 3]

2010 cycle

The Maryland legislature passed a congressional plan (SB 1) on Oct. 20, 2011, which was signed by the Governor the same day.  A referendum campaign placed the plan on the ballot; that referendum was defeated, and the maps were approved, in the Nov. 2012 elections.

On Dec. 16, 2011, the Governor’s advisory commission released a proposed state legislative map; on Jan. 11, 2012, the Governor released a slightly modified version — the state Senate (SJR 1) and state House (HJR 1) — as his final proposal to the legislature. Without legislative action in the next 45 days, the Governor’s proposal became law on Feb. 24, 2012.

The congressional plans were challenged in state and federal court, and the state legislative plans were challenged in state court.  All of the challenges were ultimately rejected.  [Lamone v. Benisek, 139 S. Ct. 2484 (2019); Bouchat v. Maryland, No. 1:15-cv-02417, 2016 WL 4699415 (D. Md. Sept. 7, 2016); Parrott v. Lamone, No. 1:15-cv-01849, 2016 WL 4445319 (D. Md. Aug. 24, 2016), dismissed on jurisdiction, 137 S. Ct. 654 (2017); Bouchat v. Maryland, No. 06C15068061 (Md. Cir. Ct., Carroll Cnty. May 1, 2015); In the Matter of 2012 Legislative Districting of the State, 80 A.3d 1073 (Md. 2013); Olson v. O’Malley, No. 1:12-cv-0240, 2012 WL 764421 (D. Md. Mar. 6, 2012); Olson v. O’Malley, Misc. No. 13 (Md. Ct. Appeals Jan. 10, 2012); Gorrell v. O’Malley, 1:11-cv-02975, 2012 WL 226919 (D. Md. Jan. 19, 2012); Fletcher v. Lamone, 831 F. Supp. 2d 887 (D. Md. 2011), aff’d, 133 S. Ct. 29 (2012); Martin v. Maryland, No. 1:11-cv-00904, 2011 WL 5151755 (D. Md. Oct. 27, 2011)]

2000 cycle

The Maryland legislature enacted congressional plans (SB 805), signed on May 6, 2002. The legislature did not pass state legislative plans, so the Governor’s proposals for state Senate (SJR 3) and state House (HJR 3) became law on Feb. 22, 2002.

The congressional plan was challenged in federal court, and upheld. The state legislative plan was challenged in state court, and struck down largely on grounds that the plan failed to give “due regard” to political boundaries. The court adopted its own plan on June 21, 2002.  [In re Legislative Districting, 805 A.2d 292 (Md. 2002); Duckworth v. State Admin. Bd. of Elections, 332 F.3d 769 (4th Cir. 2003); Kimble v. State Bd. of Elections, 120 Fed. Appx. 466 (4th Cir. 2005)]