GBC: Maryland voters favor changing state’s election framework

Maryland voters overwhelmingly favor changing the way the state’s voting districts are drawn up, according to answers to a poll question placed by the Greater Baltimore Committee on an October public opinion poll by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies.

Statewide, 73 percent of Maryland voters think having independent commissions draw up voting districts is better than the current system where elected officials redraw voting districts, while 19 percent said they think having elected officials draw up voting districts is the better approach and 8 percent offered no opinion, according to poll results released by the GBC.

The poll shows overwhelming support among all political constituencies for having independent commissions conduct the state’s redistricting process. Poll results show:

  • 68 percent of Democrats favor redistricting by independent commissions, while 22 percent favor elected officials
  • 78 percent of Republicans favor commissions and 17 percent favor elected officials
  • 83 percent of independent voters favor commissions and 8 percent favor elected officials

The phone poll, conducted between October 1 and October 9, interviewed 819 registered voters in Maryland. Its margin for error is 3.5 percentage points, according to Gonzales

Voters responded to the following question:

The U.S. Constitution requires states to create legislative voting districts and to adjust these districts every 10 years to reflect census results. In Maryland, voting districts are drawn up by the state’s elected officials. In some other states, voting districts are drawn up by independent commissions. In your opinion, which is the better approach? Have voting districts drawn up by: elected officials or independent commissions.

The Greater Baltimore Committee is interested in the issue of redistricting because it was raised by business leaders at a day-long GBC conference in June on Maryland’s competitiveness. Among other things, business leaders called for alternative redistricting options to be considered for Maryland.

A better redistricting process “would foster constructive competition and produce better political balance to promote more creative ideas that would lead to better policy solutions,” business leaders recommended in the GBC’s conference report, Compact for Competitiveness. The report offers priorities for improving the state’s climate for business growth and job creation.

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