A coalition of Baltimore County groups is calling for a referendum to be tacked onto November’s ballot that, if passed, would add four seats to the seven-member county council beginning with the 2026 election.
Organizers say expanding the council makes sense given the county’s growth. Between 2010 and 2020 the county grew about 6%, so each council member represents about 122,000 constituents — far more than when the body was established by county charter in the 1950s.
“We need to modernize. We need to reflect the change that has taken place,” said Linda Dorsey-Walker, a county resident who has championed the idea for several years.
Organizers of the effort, called “VOTE4MORE!,” say expanding the council could increase its productivity and offer fresh opportunities for young people, people of color and other groups to run for office. Their proposal comes as the county faces legal challenges to its current redistricting process in the wake of the 2020 census.
After several civil rights groups filed suit, a federal judge last week tossed out the county’s new map, arguing it would diminish Black voters’ opportunity to elect their chosen candidates. By March 8, the county council must submit a map with two majority-Black districts instead of one, or another configuration by which Black voters would “otherwise have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice.”