Sarbanes Emphasizes Election Reform in Meeting with Howard County Lawmakers

March 31, 2021
In The News

U.S. Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.) touted his sweeping federal election overhaul to state legislators from Howard County in a Wednesday morning meeting, saying the proposed reforms are the “most requested anti-corruption legislation” ever passed by the House of Representatives. Sarbanes is the primary architect of the For the People Act, an omnibus proposal that would cut back on gerrymandering, expand absentee ballot access and modernize voter registration. Those are just a few of the slew of election reform efforts included in the legislation, which is currently in the Senate after passing the House in early March. Sarbanes told members of the Maryland General Assembly’s Howard County delegation Wednesday that, coupled with the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the For the People Act represents “the most consequential set of voting rights and civil rights reforms that we’ve seen in a generation....” Sarbanes’ election reforms would almost certainly lead to a map change in his own 3rd District, which snakes haphazardly from Annapolis to Olney and then north of Baltimore. His district has been described in The Washington Post as possibly “the nation’s most bizarrely gerrymandered district” and has been likened to a praying mantis in its shape.... Legislators also urged Sarbanes to continue his public support for the state’s Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community amid a spike in anti-Asian violence across the country. Sen. Clarence K. Lam (D-Howard) noted that Howard County has the highest proportion of Asian Americans as a percentage of its population in the state. “Your constituents and my constituents include many in the Asian American Pacific Islander community,” Sarbanes said in his opening remarks to lawmakers. “And I know members of that community have been shaken to the core in recent weeks by the shootings in Atlanta, but also by the unveiling of what is this level of sort of bigotry that’s been targeting members of that community for some time now, and it’s incumbent on all of us to again have a collective and sustained response to that.”