Congressional map headed to the ballot, BOE says

A state board has certified a petition to put Maryland's congressional map on the ballot, bringing to three the number of laws that will be challenged in November.

The state Board of Elections found that 59,201 signatures were valid. That leaves foes of the map with a 3,465 cushion, should any group challenge the signatures.

"That's great news," said Del. Neil Parrott, the Republican from Washington County who spearheaded the effort.

Parrott and other foes of the map argued that it was a political gerrymander designed to send a seventh Democrat to the House of Representatives. Opponents, including some leading African-Americans, also believe minority communities were split apart to bolster the chances of white incumbents.

Defenders of the map say that it was not radically altered from the one drawn 10 years ago, noting that about 70 percent of Marylanders will remain in the same congressional district.

In November, voters will also cast ballots on the state's new law allowing same-sex couples to marry and a law letting some illegal immigrants have lower in-state tuition at colleges and universities.

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