The U.S. Census Bureau counts incarcerated people where they are confined not where they are from. Using these counts to draw state and county legislative districts enhances the weight of a vote cast by people who live near prisons at the expense of everyone else in the state or county. Maryland passed a first-in the-nation law to correct that inequity.
The No Representation Without Population Act, introduced in the House of Delegates by Delegate Pena-Melnyk as HB496 and in the Senate by Senator Pugh as SB400, January 29, 2010 was signed by the Governor on April 13, 2010.
See the PPI/Demos press release: Maryland enacts law to count incarcerated people at their home addresses: First-in-nation law will improve fairness and accuracy of the Census data used for redistricting; or the ACLU/NAACP release: ACLU, NAACP Celebrate Passage of “Prisoners of the Census”
The state released the adjusted population data on March 22, 2011, pursuant to the state regulations (Title 34, Subtitle 5), which detail the law's implementation.
June 2012 update: The No Representation Without Population Act was unsuccessfully challenged in federal court by the plaintiffs in Fletcher v. Lamone. In December 2011, a federal three-judge panel rejected the lawsuit. The plaintiffs appealed, but on June 25, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision upholding the law. For more details and case documents, see our Fletcher v. Lamone page.
- Importing Constituents: Incarcerated People and Political Clout in Maryland, by Peter Wagner and Avi Cummings, March 4, 2010 is our district-by-district analysis of how crediting Baltimore City’s incarcerated residents to remote districts distorts democracy and dilutes the votes of all voters in all other districts.
- Hearing on Senate Bill 400 before the Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee of the Maryland State Senate, March 4, 2010:
- Hearing on House Bill 496 before the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee of the Maryland State Assembly, March 8, 2010:
Press coverage & editorials
- Supreme Court upholds Maryland law ending prison-based gerrymandering; Huge victory for fair representation, Prison Policy Initiative and Dēmos press release, June 25, 2012
- Counting voters fairly, by the New York Times Editorial Board, January 17, 2012
- Interview with Peter Wagner on Metro Watch (audio), with Gloria Minott, WPFW (DC), December 7, 2011
- Maryland Law Counts Prisoners According to Pre-Incarceration Residence, by Mike Rigby, Prison Legal News, August 2, 2011
Prison Gerrymandering Still an Issue for the Eastern Shore, by Karen Hosler, WYPR (Baltimore, MD) July 20, 2010.
- Podcast: a strategic retrospective on how the "No Representation Without Population Act" was passed, interview with Cindy Boersma, Legislative Director of the ACLU of Maryland, by Peter Wagner, Prison Policy Initiative, May 27, 2010
- Reclaiming ‘one man, one vote’ Our view: It's only fair that prison inmates from Baltimore be counted as city residents, Baltimore Sun, editorial, April 27, 2010
- Inmates to play new redistricting role, by Liam Ferrell, The Capitol (Annapolis), April 27, 2010
Our View: Victory for Fairness, Delmarva Daily Times editorial, April 17, 2010
Rights groups rejoice in Somerset election change, by Liz Holland,
Delmarva Daily Times, April 16, 2010
- A Fairer Way to Count, New York Times editorial, April
- Maryland’s Big Step on
Prison Census Reform, by Matt Kelley, Change.org, April 14,
- The Census and Democracy: Maryland Fixes a
Major Error, by Eric Lotke, The Huffington Post, April 14,
- Bill would affect voting districts, by Liz Holland, The Daily Times (Somerset County, MD) April 7, 2010
- Fairer election districts ahead: Bill to remove inmates from redistricting formulas passed The Daily Times (Somerset County, MD) April 5, 2010
- Our View: Exclude inmates from voting district
The Daily Times (Somerset County, MD) November 24, 2009
- Group wants Census to bar inmates, The Daily Times (Somerset County, MD) November 23, 2009