Monday, October 15, 2012

Against Maryland Ballot Question 5, Congressional Redistricting

The following is a statement I prepared, Against Maryland Ballot Question 5, Congressional Redistricting, for presentation at an October 15 press conference organized by Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews. Also in attendance at the press conference were County Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin, Nancy Floreen, and Hans Riemer; Delegates Ana Sol Guitierrez and Aisha Braveboy; Gaithersburg and Rockville municipal officials; and precinct chairs and community activists.

Councilmember Andrews, thank you for organizing today's press conference and for inviting me to participate.

Maryland Ballot Question 5 would have the voters affirm Governor Martin O'Malley's and the state legislature's redrawing of Maryland's congressional districts. Their scheme is a poster-child for gerrymandering, for political machinations.

I am Seth Grimes. I am privileged to represent Takoma Park's Ward 1 on our city council.

Municipal wards are the smaller type of electoral district in our wonderful, progressive state of Maryland. But I can tell you -- given the opinions voiced in Takoma Park's own decennial redistricting process, now underway -- that boundaries matter. Voters want electoral districts that respect the integrity of their neighborhoods.

I choose the word "integrity" intentionally. District boundaries that divide communities serve no one but political fixers.

It is our duty as elected officials -- a duty that extends to Governor O'Malley and state legislators -- it is our duty as elected officials to serve our constituents by building community, not to divide our communities via gerrymandering that serves only ourselves.

I deplore the redistricting plan in front of us and call on my fellow Maryland voters to vote Against Question 5.

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