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Process of adjusting political boundaries of Harford County councilmanic districts is underway | COMMENTARY

The Harford County Councilmanic Redistricting Commission is undertaking the process of evaluating and adjusting the boundaries of the Harford County Councilmanic districts.

It is important to note and understand that the Commission is only authorized to suggest revisions to County Council election districts in Harford County, not school districts. The Commission has no authority over, or involvement with, the drawing of boundary lines for public schools in Harford County.

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The Commission intends to transparently undertake its work as follows: First, it will invite citizens, elected officials and representatives of the two major political parties to make presentations regarding the configuration of the current Harford County election districts and how the same could be revised, amended or redrawn to better serve the citizens of Harford County and advance the Goals and Purposes adopted by the Commission.

While all citizens are encouraged to attend the public meetings and provide testimony, proposed election district maps, or other information. A schedule of such meetings can be found at www.harfordcountymd.gov/3221/Councilmanic-Redistricting-Commission. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 18 in the Council Chambers, 212 S. Bond Street, Bel Air.

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Written testimony, proposed election district maps and other information in advance of, or after any meeting and be submitted by emailing RedistrictingCommission@HarfordCountyMD.gov.

Second, once the Commission has received input from the above stakeholders and interested persons, it will review the most current census information to ensure that the election districts are drawn in accordance with the applicable and governing laws, regulations and requirements.

It is important to understand as populations shift within a community that election districts sometimes must be redefined, rebalanced or redrawn to avoid unfairly burdening, or benefiting a certain political figure or party.

The Commission anticipates that it will consider and propose election districts and modifications thereto sometime in September of 2021.

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Finally, the Commission will draft proposed election district maps for review and approval by the Harford County Council, which body has the final authority to approve the proposed districts.

For more information on the subject of redistricting, how it affects you and your voice in the political process, as well as how you can engage in the process in an effective manner, the Commission recommends that you download and read “A Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting” compiled and published by the Brennan Center for Justice. See www.brennancenter.org.

Mustafa M. Sidik is the chair of the five-member Harford County Redistricting Commission.

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