Maryland: common misunderstandings
by Aleks Kajstura, April 21, 2010
After the bill ending prison-based gerrymandering in Maryland passed, debate and misunderstandings continue. Two recent letters to the editor, one in the Washington Post, and one in the Cumberland Times-News, confront common misunderstandings about ending prison-based gerrymandering. The letter from Cindy Boersma, of the ACLU of Maryland, points out that prison-based gerrymandering harms both urban and rural areas: anyone without a prison in their community lose their political power to the few residents who happen to live near prisons.
My letter explains that the bill, now law, applies only to data used for redistricting. This new law has no effect on federal funding formulas. The federal government simply does not distribute funds based on state redistricting data.