Press Release Re-Released 2-14-2011

Contact:  Avi Green, Executive Director, MassVOTE

Phone:  617-997-6136

Voting Rights and Civil Rights Organizations Call for Transparency in Drawing New 9 Seat Map of Massachusetts Congressional Districts.

Boston – A coalition of civil rights, good government, and community organizations is coming together to respond to the announcement that Massachusetts will only have 9 members of Congress during the next decade.  The US Census revealed that over the past ten years, the population of the Bay State grew by 3.1% to 6.5 million people.

“Going from 10 districts to 9 districts is painful” said MassVOTE Executive Director Avi Green “but we can create better maps and minimize pain.”

Alejandra St.Guillen,Executive Director of Oiste, the Massachusetts Latino Civic Education Organization said, “Although we are very disappointed about losing a seat and the potential impact this may have across the state, the coalition will work diligently to make sure the redistricting process is fair,transparent and inclusive.  It will be critically important that all communities throughout the state take part in this process.”

Organizations are calling for a redistricting process that abides by three basic principles:  transparency, public participation, and equal justice.

  • Transparency:  State House and Senate mapmakers should conduct hearings across the commonwealth and make proposed maps of the new districts available online.
  • Public participation:  People must have an opportunity to speak out about the new districts lines – at least three weeks to comment on proposed maps.  Mapmakers should invite people to make comments in person at the State House, at hearings around the commonwealth, via phone, and online.
  • Equal justice:  The voting rights of people of color, and distinct ethnic and cultural groups must be recognized.  

Kelly Bates of the Access Strategies Fund, a family foundation that has supported many voting rights and civil rights  organizations in Massachusetts said, “Now the important task is to ensure that communities  have a say in redrawing the congressional lines through a transparent and fair redistricting process.” 

Avi Green added “Our coalition has already met with State House and State Senate redistricting Chairmen Michael Moran and Stan Rosenberg and we feel very optimistic about working with them.”