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New districts are official today

February 22, 2002

New districts are official today



By LAURA ERNDE
laurae@herald-mail.com


Unless the courts intervene, Washington County voters are now locked into the election districts Gov. Parris Glendening proposed last month.

The plan becomes law today, although lawmakers won't represent the new districts until after the November election.

Glendening redrew the district boundaries to reflect population changes in the 2000 Census.

Lawmakers from Baltimore and the Eastern Shore may take the plan to court.

Any changes made there could have a ripple effect in Washington County, but they probably would be minor, said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

"The courts will ultimately have the final decisions," he said.

Glendening's plan creates an open seat, District 2A, in northern Washington County from Big Pool to Cascade.

It pits two Republican incumbents against each other in the September primary. Del. Christopher B. Shank and Del. Robert A. McKee both live in the new District 2B, which encompasses a large chunk of southern Washington County.

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District 2C, now held by Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, had the fewest changes. It largely follows the Hagerstown city boundaries.

Residents who live in Hancock and west will be part of a delegate district now held by House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany.

Residents of Sharpsburg and Fairplay will now be part of delegate District, 3B, most of which lies in southern Frederick County.

Most local lawmakers say the plan improves Washington County's representation in the legislature because it eliminates the three-member delegate District 3 in Frederick and Washington counties that was created in 1990.

That district is now represented by Del. Sue Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington, Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Washington, and Del. Joseph R. Bartlett, R-Washington.

"It doesn't look like I'm going to have a piece of Washington County and I really regret that," Bartlett said.

The makeup of the Washington County Delegation will change from six delegates and two senators to five delegates and three senators.

"It's not really bad news for Washington County," Hecht said.

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