In Maryland the roles are reversed, with a Democratic state legislature and Republican governor, Larry Hogan. Governor Hogan potentially has no other leverage: for congressional district lines, Democrats can override his veto with their three-fifths majority, and for state legislative maps, the law says the legislature may adopt maps through a joint resolution.
Governor Hogan has also established a nine-member advisory commission, with three members selected by the governor (one Republican, one Democrat, and one independent), as well as six Maryland citizens. The Maryland commission has specific instructions from the governor. Hogan has stated “Districts must be geographically compact and must not take into account how citizens are registered to vote, how they have voted in the past, or what political party they happen to belong to.” Neutral on its face, disregarding information about voters tends to emphasize compactness and county/city boundaries, and can inadvertently pack city dwellers into a few districts, giving an advantage to Republicans because they dominate rural areas. Even if the commission initially disregards partisan voting data, it would be best to score plans for voting outcomes at some point in the process.
These two commissions represent a chance for both Wisconsin and Maryland to break the feedback loop of self-dealing in which legislators draw their own districts. The commissions create a forum to facilitate transparency and awareness. By driving the public conversation, these commissions can help make maps fair, no matter which party is in the majority.