Commissioner Redistricting Board To Convene Next Year

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Commissioner Redistricting Board To Convene Next Year

Leonardtown, MD - 5/8/2012

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By Dick Myers

St. Mary's County's four commissioner election districts
St. Mary's County's four commissioner election districts

The St. Mary’s County Commissioners will convene a redistricting committee early next year to determine the new boundaries for the county’s four commissioner districts. A bill passed by this year’s Maryland General Assembly during their regular session sets up the redistricting process that hadn’t been revised since 1974.

County Attorney George Sparling gave the commissioners a briefing on the new process during Tuesday’s regular commissioner meeting. A five-person board, with one member chosen by each of the current commissioners, will meet from January to March of 2013 to establish the redistricting procedure.

After that has been determined, public hearings will be held in each election district and the board then has until the end of the year to come up with a new election district map. The process allows for a 60-day waiting period for any court challenges before the new districts become law on March 1, 2014. The commissioner primary is in September, 2014.

The county’s commissioner election system has four commissioners running from each of the four election districts, but elected by all of the voters, plus a commissioner president who also runs at large but has no election district residency requirement.

Commissioner Lawrence Jarboe (R: 3rd) wondered what would happen if a current commissioner is redistricted into another election district. Sparling responded: “That would be very unfortunate.” He added that that commissioner would have the option of running from his or her new district. Jarboe noted, however, that would create a situation in which the previous tenure as commissioner wouldn’t count towards the three-term limit.

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