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Master: Top court should deny redistricting challenges

Maryland’s top court should deny all remaining challenges to the state’s legislative redistricting plan, the Court of Appeals’ special master told the judges Thursday.

The master, Alan M. Wilner, concluded in a 74-page report that the plan complies with U.S. and state mandates that Maryland’s 47 reconfigured districts be continuous, compact, of substantially equal population, give due regard to natural boundaries and political subdivisions, and comply with the anti-discrimination provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Gov. Martin O’Malley proposed the decennial redistricting plan on Jan. 11, the first day of the General Assembly’s 2012 session. The proposal went into effect 45 days later — and became subject to high-court challenge — when the legislature failed to make any changes.

Five people filed challenges with the high court, including Sen. Delores G. Kelley and Sen. James Brochin, both Baltimore County Democrats.

The report by Wilner, a retired Court of Appeals judge, is available online here. Exceptions to Wilner’s report are due at the high court by 4:30 p.m. Oct. 22. The court has not set a date for its final decision.