I enjoyed reading the Frederick News-Post's New Year’s Day article, Taking a Look Back at 2021. I would like to add another story that should interest the residents of Frederick County. On Dec. 21, the County Council unanimously passed a new map that redraws district lines for Frederick County voters. There was an article about this in Jack Hogan’s following Council Notebook titled, "New redistricting map unanimously passed."

Why is this unanimous vote remarkable? Across the country, redistricting commissions produce fair maps, but those maps are then handed to legislatures that redraw them in order to gain political favor, known as gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is now the rule, not the exception. Legislatures either gerrymander to favor the majority party, or to favor incumbents overall. Lawsuits are then filed to try and stop this, but they can do little to curb it. Gerrymandering has been getting worse for two main reasons:

1. Big data and computing power make it easier to do.

2. As people pay less attention to local news and pay more attention to national news and social media, they also tend to vote more along party lines. This makes gerrymandering even more attractive to legislators.

Frederick County is remarkable because we didn’t do any of this. The council, in a bipartisan, unanimous vote, accepted a fairly drawn map that will be in place for the next three county election cycles, until a future County Council takes up the matter again after the next census. Keep an eye out for articles about new legislative maps around the United States and you will see how rarely fairly drawn maps are enacted.

In a time when democracy seems to be under assault on many fronts, Frederick County did its part to keep free and fair elections alive.

Jerry Donald

Braddock Heights

Donald is a member of the Frederick County Council representing District 1.

(6) comments

mrnatural1

Jerry,

These comments will teach you to write a positive, non-partisan LTE. [cool]

Thank you for talking the time. FredCo is setting a good example.

jsklinelga

Mr. Donald,

Ironic you would ;laud your efforts for political fairness yet be one of the first to be elected in the County under what many consider a highly unethical practice. A practice that countermanded a long standing principle within our common law concerning "dual office holders" A practice that was authorized by an opinion of a member of the leading ruling party not the legislative process. At the same time as the new County Executive of that party within a new form of government broke precedence and politicized what had been an apolitical commission/ An independent commission responsible for oversight of ethical standards in our government.

The Teacher's Union is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country contributing well over 90% to just one party. Not surprising which part

jsklinelga

Mr. Donald,

As a post script to my comment this was not a personal attack on Mr. Jerry Donald. I have and have had many friends and acquaintances that were teachers or employees of the public schools. Most are the salt of the earth type folks. I loved public education but it has changed dramatically and continues to change dramatically. Without doubt it has become one of the leading forces behind the progressive movement in this country.

I guess my first thought when seeing your letter is how easy it is to rationalize political advantage when it benefits to you.

public-redux

nelga, You make a good point that just because something is believed by many, even by a majority, doesn’t mean that they are correct.

DickD

Thanks, Jerry. Do you still hold meetings for the citizens of your district?

threecents

Jerry, The county has a mix. Isn't that why it isn't Gerrymandered?

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