Black voters in Baltimore County challenged the county’s redistricting plan as racial vote dilution in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A federal court blocked Baltimore County from implementing a redistricting plan that discriminates against Black voters.
Black voters in Baltimore County, joined by the Baltimore County NAACP, League of Women Voters of Baltimore County, and Common Cause Maryland, challenged Baltimore County’s redistricting plan as a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). Baltimore County’s plan dilutes the power of Black voters by packing them into one district and splitting up other Black communities into different districts, thus preventing Black voters from electing the candidates of their choice. Diluting the power of voters of color violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).
Baltimore County has seven county council districts. Under the county’s redistricting plan, Black voters comprise a majority of only one of those seven districts. But according to the 2020 Census, the Black population makes up 30% of the County’s population. The County achieved this discriminatory result by packing Black voters into a single district — which is 72% Black — and dividing other Black communities between three separate districts. In no other district would Black voters make up more than 30% of the voting age population.
Plaintiffs in this case sought a fair map — one in which Black voters comprise a majority of two of the seven districts in compliance with Section 2 of the VRA.
Baltimore County has a disgraceful history of racial discrimination. Black residents have been barred from participating fully in elections — it was only in 2002 that the first Black official was elected to county-wide office. The county’s plan falls in line with this history, maintaining a single majority Black district despite the fact that the Black population has grown from 20 to 30% of the total population over the last two decades.
In February 2022, the federal district court blocked implementation of the county’s plan, requiring Baltimore County to draw a map that complies with the VRA before March 8. The court accepted the proposed map as amended by Baltimore County in late March. Plaintiffs opposed the new map as it created only one majority Black district. Yet the district court found the new map gave Black voters the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice because of crossover voting from other racial groups in the district.
Plaintiffs are represented by Andrew D. Freeman of Brown, Goldstein & Levy, John A. Freedman, Mark D. Colley, and Michael Mazullo of Arnold & Porter, and ACLU of Maryland Legal Director Deborah Jeon.
LWV of Baltimore County, Individual Plaintiffs, and Partners File Suit
The League of Women Voters Baltimore County, together with Black Voters in Baltimore, the NAACP, and Common Cause, filed a lawsuit challenging Baltimore County’s redistricting plan as racially discriminatory.
Federal Court Blocks Baltimore County Redistricting Plan
The federal district court judge blocked Baltimore County from implementing its redistricting plan. The County was given until March 8 to create a map that complies with the Voting Rights Act.
Federal Court Accepts New Maps
The federal judge accepted the proposed map as amended by Baltimore County that still only created one majority Black district, despite Plaintiffs’ opposition. The Court dismissed the case without prejudice.