“A thorough process with a partnership between both community organizations and the Legislature leads to fair maps.”
New congressional and legislative voting district maps for the next decade of elections have been signed into law, and advocacy groups contended a transparent process with a focus on racial equity makes representation in the Commonwealth stronger.
Beth Huang, executive director of the group Mass Voter Table, a member of the Drawing Democracy Coalition, said they worked with local community groups to get public input throughout the last year, and made recommendations to the Legislature. She noted while lawmakers did not put all their recommendations in place, many improvements were made.
“A thorough process with a partnership between both community organizations and the Legislature leads to fair maps,” Huang asserted. “They likely will lead to stronger opportunities for people of color, immigrants and low-income people to be authentically represented in the next 10 years.”
Municipalities in the Commonwealth have until Wednesday to submit local redistricting plans to the Governor’s Commission, of which Huang is a member. She said voting maps at the local level are crucial.
Huang pointed out Brockton, which has more than 60% people of color, but had only about 8% of elected officials identify as a person of color as of 2019.
“There are some places with major disparities between the demographics of the residents and the elected officials,” Huang observed. “In those places in particular, we will take a look at how to draw the districts more thoroughly.”
Jordan DeLoach, director of communications for the group State Voices, said it is important to make sure communities can have choice in their daily lives, whether it be who their representative is, what health care they receive or what education they are able to get for their children.
“Regardless of how the maps turn out, we’re gonna keep fighting, we’re gonna keep building together until all of our folks have their voices, votes and needs heard,” DeLoach stressed. “Redistricting, community districting, is an excellent way to start getting people really engaged in that process.”