Maryland has eight congressional districts, and the footprints of these districts will soon be redrawn based on the recent census (”Maryland redistricting commission plans to release draft maps next month, chairman says,” Oct. 5). Theoretically, these districts should be drawn to fairly represent the various constituencies of the state. Geographic areas are traditionally used to describe these constituencies, but I suggest there is another way to divide voters to better represent constituencies by age group as well as geographic groups of our state.
Specifically, I suggest that Maryland define only four geographic districts (rather than eight) and that each district be divided, with one representative selected by the younger half of the voting population and the other half selected by the older half. The median age would be about age 40, and for each district, those under age 40 would have one representative and those over 40 would have a different one. The elected representative need not be of the same age group, but they should be accountable to it. A representative serving the interests of younger voters are more likely to be interested in long-range implications of policy decisions (infrastructure, jobs, climate change, national debt, etc.) while those serving the older folks will protect their interests (Social Security, health care, etc.).
I do not see this as a partisan issue, though I would hope it would improve the proportion of younger people who decide to vote since there are members of both parties in all age groups. Obviously, this concept could be extended to state legislative districts as well. The voter registration system already records our birth dates, so administering the system should be straightforward, and I see no constitutional reason this decision about more fairly representing the voting population could not be taken by the state legislature.
For the record, I would vote with the elders.
David Sack, Fallston
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