ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland commission on congressional and state legislative redistricting on Tuesday announced 12 public hearings.
Ten of the hearings will be held in different parts of the state. The first will be on Sept. 20, and the last is scheduled for Nov. 18. There also will be two statewide virtual hearings.
The panel, which includes leading Democrats who control the General Assembly as well as two Republican legislative leaders, will draw maps for the state's eight congressional districts as well as the 188 seats in the state legislature, based on new census data.
Maryland's current congressional map has been criticized as having some of the most gerrymandered and oddly-shaped districts in the nation. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1, Democrats hold a 7-1 advantage in its U.S. House delegation.
Karl Aro, the former executive director of the Maryland Department of Legislative Services who is chairing the commission, said the geography should look "prettier" this time in how the maps are drawn. He noted that in the past "things have gotten pretty free-hand-drawing like."
Aro said he's hopeful people will not feel like their communities have been "carved 16 different ways."
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