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A Map of the Strange Borders of Maryland's Congressional District 3

Such a fall from grace. According to Wikipedia, Maryland's District 3 is one of only 50 districts to have elected a representative to the first United States Congress. That was in 1789. In 2012, the district was found to be the "third least compact congressional district in the United States" according to the Maryland Reporter. The current district boundaries are actually an improvement over its 2011 borders (which you can view at the Maryland Reporter link below).

 

Yet another example of gerrymandering, this one favors Democrats. Despite the fact that the district surrounds and includes parts of Baltimore, the district is over 75% white. The City of Baltimore, in contrast, is 64% Black (as of 2010 census). Gerrymandering is one of the root causes for the disfunction we see in Congress. Gerrymandered districts tend to vote solidly for one party, either Democrat or Republican. This encourages candidates in these districts to be more extreme in their views to speak to their base. Districts that are politically diverse require a more moderate tone in order to appeal to more voters.

 

I had been keeping an eye out for another gerrymandered election district to include in this series after my map of Illinois District 4 started getting tons of views on Flickr (over 163,300 as I write this). I realized that part of the reason I've been avoiding maps of gerrymandered districts is that they look so illogical and messy. They don't make for great maps. I did not enjoy tracing the haphazard lines of the Illinois map and I certainly didn't enjoy drawing this one. But the pain of drawing it is yet another sign in my mind of how bad they are. Bad for cartographers, bad for democracy.

 

Sources

Google Maps

nationalatlas.gov/printable/congress.html

 

Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland%27s_3rd_congressional_dist...

 

Maryland Reporter: marylandreporter.com/2012/10/03/maryland-has-least-compac...

 

pjmedia.com/zombie/2010/11/11/the-top-ten-most-gerrymande...

 

stateintegrity.tumblr.com/post/20800702320/redistricting-...

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Taken on November 8, 2012