Civil rights group needs more time (and $$) to challenge Congressional map

Short of cash, the Fannie Lou Hamer political action committee missed a self-imposed deadline today to file a lawsuit opposing the new Congressional boundaries passed by the state's general assembly.

"Lawsuits are expensive," said Radamase Cabrera, a spokesman for the FLH-PAC. "We don't have the quarter of a million dollars necessary" to win in court. Cabrera set a new deadline of Nov. 1 to file the suit. "Right now the complications are in terms of cash and resources," he said. Cabrera noted he's seeking funding from Maryland's Republican Party.

Cabrera's group believes the Congressional map passed last week by the state's General Assembly improperly divides minority populations in order to draw a district where a seventh Democrat could be elected to Congress. His group believes that the increase of blacks and Hispanics in the state was large enough to require that mapmakers to draw at third majority-minority seat. There are two now.

Cabrera also said that "as a back up strategy" he's interested in petitioning the map to referendum. The Sun reported yesterday that Del. Neal Parrott, who had success earlier this year halting the in-state tuition law via petitions, is considering mounting a similar effort on the Congressional maps.

The map already faces one legal challenge brought Thursday by a Washington County resident who attended each of the 12 redistricting hearings held across the state. He alleges that the map illegally splits like communities.

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