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Baltimore County NAACP sues over redistricting map

The Baltimore County NAACP has filed a federal lawsuit over the county’s redistricting map, which the organization says dilutes minority votes by packing Black voters into a single district.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Maryland, follows a heated public debate about the redistricting map, which outlines the seven County Council districts.

Opponents vowed to sue almost immediately after Baltimore County Council unanimously approved the map Monday evening.

The lawsuit accuses the county of violating the Voting Right Act by declining to draw two majority-Black districts, even as the county’s Black population has grown to 30 percent, according to the complaint.

“Instead of affording Black voters election opportunities commensurate with their significant share of the population, the plan perpetuates a legacy of discrimination in the county by packing an excessively high Black population into the county’s one majority-Black district while also cracking politically cohesive Black communities into other council districts, thereby diluting the voting influence of all Black voters,” the complaint alleges.

The plaintiffs include the Baltimore County NAACP, the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County, Common Cause Maryland, state Senator Charles Sydnor, D-Baltimore County, and six Black voters.

Sean Naron, the county’s spokesperson, said in a statement: “We share the concerns of community members. Opportunities for greater minority representation across all districts is vital. Our administration remains focused on doing all we can to promote policies that expand diversity and inclusion across our county. We cannot comment further at this time in anticipation of litigation.”