The Prince George’s County Council approved a new district map late Tuesday after more than 150 people criticized the plan as politically motivated gerrymandering that disenfranchises residents.
Six members of the council approved the map after citizen after citizen begged council members not to divide longstanding communities.
Those in favor of the new district map called it a long-needed improvement to community boundaries.
A redistricting commission made minor changes to council district lines to reflect Census data. Then in a move that surprised some council members, Councilman Derrick Davis introduced a drastically different map.
Candidates who were expected to challenge incumbents in 2022 were drawn out of their districts.
Krystal Oriadha was running for a seat in District 7. She lost by 30 votes in the last election and had already started campaigning for the next.
“I knew that they were going to do something to stop this insurgence of candidates that is very community base-centered, but I was surprised that they did it in such a blatant way,” Oriadha said.
Bowie State University governor professor Dr. William Lewis said that if history is a teacher, citizens' voices matter on these issues.
“We have to live with it, and the only thing i would say is, citizens have to rise to the occasion,” he said.