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'These maps cannot stand' | Maryland governor vetoes congressional redistricting maps

The governor called on the Biden administration and the DOJ to add Maryland to a lawsuit currently filed against Texas to block its redistricting plans.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vehemently opposed congressional maps passed by the state Senate, utilizing his gubernatorial veto powers in a press conference Thursday. The senate-accepted maps were a rejection of Hogan's own redistricting plans. 

Every 10 years, states have the opportunity to redraw district boundaries to reflect changes in population. According to Hogan, his proposed maps were created by a citizen commission, following 36 public input meetings. The governor says his maps were given an "A" grade for fairness from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project report card, while the Senate's maps received an "F."

 "The focus of the legislature this week has been making even the worst and most gerrymandered districts in America even worse," Hogan said. "These maps disenfranchise voters. They violate the Voting Rights Act. And they are in violation of numerous state and federal laws."

In the past, experts have agreed that Maryland has one of the worst cases of gerrymandering in the entire country. A federal judge once said the current map looked like a “broken-winged pterodactyl, lying prostrate across the center of the state.”

 "On behalf of all the people of Maryland, who value fairness and integrity in our elections, and in our political system, I am vetoing these disgracefully gerrymandered illegal maps, which are a shameful violation of state and federal law," Hogan said before vehemently stamping "VETO" and drawing a red X across the Senate-passed maps. "This is not the end of the process. This is just the beginning. 

The governor also made an unusual request, calling on the president and the DOJ to sue his state, citing a lawsuit against Texas filed to block their newly redrawn congressional maps. 

"The map passed by the legislature here in Maryland is a far more egregious civil rights violation than the Texas map," he alleged. "We're calling on the Biden administration to immediately add the state of Maryland into that lawsuit." 

Though Hogan acknowledged the Senate would likely try to vote to override his veto, he said he would put his faith in the court system. 

"These gerrymandered maps will be challenged in both the federal and state courts," the governor said. "...We will be bringing them back in the legislative session. And I can assure you, we'll be fighting for 90 days to make sure that they get them done."

In 2016, Bethesda resident Steve Shapiro sued Maryland over redistricting maps, alleging that gerrymandering hurt the interests of voters like himself. The case went to the US Supreme Court, which ruled federal courts should not get involved. Shapiro said he predicts that means the gerrymandering will continue in Maryland.

RELATED: Maryland lawmakers convene for congressional map redistricting session

RELATED: Capitol Hill neighbors question Ward boundary changes

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