Community leaders in Prince George’s County, Maryland, held a public forum to denounce attempts by Councilman Derrick Leon Davis’ to approve a controversial new district map, which critics claim would result in gerrymandering.
Originally, a non-partisan redistricting commission had suggested small changes to council district lines that reflected population changes recorded in the 2020 census.
However, in a surprise to other council members and other community leaders, Councilman Derrick Davis introduced a drastically different map that would change voting choices for residents in the highly Democratic area.
Among the changes in question, some communities would be split into two districts that separate current residents from commercial areas near their home. It would also change which candidates could run in each of the newly proposed districts.
Richard Elliott with Prince George’s County Young Democrats described that map as anti-democratic.
“This map was drawn in a manner that intentionally removes multiple candidates from their respective legislative districts, a clear anti-democratic measure,” said Elliott.
Elliott also encouraged transparency and accountability in the redistricting process.
Linda Thornton-Thomas, president of Prince George’s County NAACP, acknowledged that their organization is not political, but always advocates for quality, equity and fairness in the county.
“Prince George’s County NAACP would like for the council to consider using the commission map — we paid for it, it’s based on population. We think that’s the fair way to go,” she said.
Before the council votes on a new map, Prince George’s County residents will have a chance to speak their mind during a virtual meeting of the council Tuesday, Nov.16 at 10 a.m..