|The Hon. Lydia Kay Griggsby
Baltimore County officials are reviewing their options after a federal judge blocked the county from using its newly drawn map of County Council districts, saying the boundaries would diminish Black voters’ opportunity to elect their chosen candidates.
U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby ordered the county Tuesday to adopt a new redistricting map that either includes two “reasonably compact” majority-Black districts or an additional district that meets the requirement of the federal Voting Rights Act and in which Black voters “otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.”
She said the new boundaries must be adopted by the county in two weeks — “on or before March 8.”
The County Council had voted unanimously to approve the new map late last year.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. on Thursday expressed renewed concern about a map. In December he’d urged council to incorporate community concerns, saying he hoped to see a map “that reflects the changes in the county’s demographics over the past 10 years.”
“I’ve consistently shared my concerns regarding the council’s proposed map — a concern now affirmed by the court,” Olszewski said Thursday in a written statement. “I urge the County Council to take every opportunity to support greater minority representation.”
Democratic Council Chair Julian Jones said via a text message Wednesday that officials were reviewing the decision and their options.
“Although the judge’s decision is not what I expected, our legal team will review the judge’s decision and explore our options,” wrote Jones, who became the first African American person to chair the council when he was elevated to the role in 2019. “Once we fully understand our options, we will then decide on a course of action.”
Jones also said he believed the county could ask the judge to reconsider her order or appeal it to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, but no such decision has been made. He has represented the 4th District, which includes Woodlawn, Randallstown and parts of Owings Mills and Reisterstown, for the past seven years.
Remember, this is a strictly blue on blue fight. Republicans don't have enough presence in Baltimore or Baltimore County to affect any policies.
Why are Democrats such racists?