Redistricting in Baltimore County is front and center again. The county's NAACP and the ACLU of Maryland say the Redistricting Commission's proposed plan would unlawfully dilute Black people's votes — in violation of the landmark Voting Rights Act.
On Tuesday, those groups stood together in protest.
The ACLU and local and state leaders are calling on the County Council to reject the Redistricting Commission's plan or face court action.
"We have a growing and thriving population of Black and brown people who choose to live in Baltimore County. There's an opportunity for the County Council to create council districts that celebrate the diversity and opportunity in civic engagement," said Calin Young, public policy director of ACLU of Maryland said.
Danita Tolson, the Baltimore County NAACP president, said the plan as it reads now violates the Voting Rights Act.
"It continues a racially motivated practice of diluting African American voting strength by packing voters in one supermajority minority district and diluting and would marginalize African American voters in six other county districts," Tolson said.
The activists say the commission's proposed plan would maintain a white majority in six of seven council districts by packing a supermajority of Black voters into its single majority Black district.
The NAACP-ACLU alternative proposal would create two majority Black districts among the seven, plus a third swing or influence district that would include about even numbers of white and Black, Indigenous, People of Color also known as BIPOC.
Baltimore County Council Chairman Julian Jones said the county just received the plan and has not met yet to discuss what they are going to do.
"It clearly is a concern. One of the issues is where the minorities are in Baltimore County. If you look at my district, it's made up of a majority of African Americans but then there's another 150,000 spread out through Baltimore County," Jones said.
"We realize the County Council has not acted yet that's why we're letting the County Council know where we stand before they act," said Sen. Charles Sydnor, D-Baltimore County.
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