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According to Azavea’s study of the districts used after the 2000 census, Maryland had the nation’s least compact districts then, too. Mr. McGlone said the state’s districts are getting worse in terms of compactness.

“The districts got less compact, but the state’s outline stayed the same,” Mr. McGlone said.

This map already has faced legal scrutiny, withstanding a court challenge where a citizen’s group claimed that it broke up too many minority communities.

Even so, those who oppose the map think that voters who take a good look at it will vote it down — even though a vote against the map is a vote for the same type of heavily Democratic group to go through the same process to redraw the districts.

Both Mr. Franchot and Mr. Campbell are hopeful that legislation will be passed in the 2013 General Assembly session to overhaul the state’s redistricting process. They both said that the only way that redistricting can be fair is if a nonpartisan citizens’ commission is in charge of drawing district lines. Similar legislation was proposed during this year’s regular General Assembly session but died in committee.

Azavea also has studied the difference between politician and citizen redistricting, and Mr. McGlone said that independent commissions tend to draw more compact districts.

Mr. Franchot put it more bluntly.

“A citizens’ commission is the only way we will be free from smoke-filled back room Tammany Hall-style stupid politics,” he said.