Here is a reasonably neat map of Maryland, and its counties:
Maryland is fairly infamous for being one of the more gerrymandered states – that is, its congressional districts are drawn to attempt to preserve party seats. In Maryland, that tends to mean artificial protections for Democrats; in other states it can be Republicans – maybe more often, in fact. What does gerrymandering mean in practice?
Most of us, faced with the problems of assigning representatives, would want to make fairly neat divisions. In particular I prefer to keep subdivisions (counties or cities) in place where possible. So I took a couple swings at district drawing. Maryland has 8 congressional districts at the moment. Here’s the first attempt to determine them, keeping entire counties together, and joining generally similar areas together as much as possible:
This would probably work fine, but it’s a rough sketch. Some of the districts end up with significantly different populations – Montgomery County as its own district has around a million residents, basically doubling the southern light brown and eastern dark purple districts even though each has several counties.
Attempting to balance populations, after a couple hours work, produced this:
For the sake of convenient comparisons, where I split up counties, I used straight lines. Obviously that’s unlikely to happen exactly in reality – even if you did use straight lines, mine are probably not in exactly the right places – but it gives a general idea. I’m not entirely happy about dragging a “Western Shore” district up through several counties and around Baltimore on both sides, but for a couple hours fiddling it’s not too bad. I’d expect any reasonable plan for Maryland to look more or less like this.
What are Maryland’s actual congressional districts?