Crabs Don’t Vote: Proposed District 5 “Pinched” in the Middle

By Fergal Mullaly.

If you look at the map submitted by the commission, you should immediately notice something… The inlets, bays, and peninsulae that make our county shoreline such a beautiful place have all disappeared, replaced by a smooth border. The maps extend beyond the coastline and into the bay.

And while perhaps the official boundaries of the county extend into the water, crabs don’t vote. When you redraw the district boundaries along the actual coastline, something unusual happens. The proposed District 5 gets pinched in the middle almost to nothing. The true shape resembles the silhouette of the heads of a kissing couple, touching only at the lips.

The proposed district 5, with the lines drawn to exclude the
Chesapeake Bay. The district narrows to a small strip about 500 yards
wide along Pulaski Highway.

The county charter has almost nothing to say about how fair districts should be drawn, but it does require that they be “compact”. The proposed district 5 is not compact, and the commission offers no justification for why this shape was necessary. I do not claim to be a legal expert, but common sense tells us that two regions joined by a narrow neck is the opposite of the meaning of “compact district”.

The least that the County Council can do is send this map back to the commission and ask for some properly shaped districts. But you could do more. You can ask the commission to justify their choices. One hears about the “whispers of corruption” regarding this body. I have already heard whispers that the commission drew this line, or that line, to satisfy specific individuals.

The Council should refute these whispers. Ask the Commission to define their goals for the map and to justify their choices in terms of how well they meet those explicit goals.

But first, please reject the current map. Thank you.

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