Drawing Democracy Response to Senate Maps
The Drawing Democracy Coalition strives to achieve fair districts that equitably represent communities of color, low-income people, and immigrants through a transparent process and maximum community engagement. After reviewing the maps proposed by the Joint Committee on Redistricting, here's what we found in the Senate map (and find our response to the House: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/drawing-democracy-response-to-house)
Missed opportunities on the proposed Senate District map:
The overarching concern with the Senate map is that it relies too heavily on Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP), which dilutes the voting power of BIPOC communities. These maps will be in place for the next decade and should weigh short-term and long-term opportunities. Solely drawing majority minority Senate Districts based on CVAP creates short-term opportunities for authentic representation but may foreclose on longer-term opportunities for emerging leaders in rapidly changing communities, especially in Brockton, Randolph, and Haverhill.
The majority-Black Senate District (Second Suffolk) creates a strong likelihood to send a candidate of choice of Black voters in Boston to the Senate by January 2023. But the Second Suffolk is nearly 80% BIPOC, weakening a vital opportunity to draw a strong coalition district in Boston. Immigrant communities in Chinatown, South Boston, South End, and Dorchester likely will not have the opportunity to elect a candidate of choice in the First Suffolk District.
The Drawing Democracy Unity Map (massachusetts.redistrictingandyou.org) proposed uniting Brockton with the similar communities of Randolph and Stoughton into one Senate District. These three communities have experienced an influx of BIPOC residents over the past ten years, often from historically redlined communities in Boston. Our proposed SD would be 45% Black, 11% Latinx, and 5.6% AAPI by total population and nearly 50-50 split between white and BIPOC eligible voters (CVAP). The Senate’s proposed map groups Randolph with Milton, Stoughton, Avon, Easton, Bridgewater, and West Bridgewater in a SD that is 65% white by population and 75% white eligible voters. The Senate’s proposed map groups Brockton with Whitman, East Bridgewater, Hanover, Hanson, Halifax, and Plympton in a SD that is 50% white by population but 67% white by eligible voters. Black, AAPI, and Latinx voters will unlikely be able to overcome supermajorities of white voters in the Senate’s proposed districts in Randolph and Brockton.
The Senate’s proposed map adopts our recommendations to unite Lawrence with the similar community of Methuen, rather than Andover. But the Senate’s proposed map leaves behind a substantial Latinx community in Haverhill in the Acre neighborhood (Haverhill 6-2), and this community is grouped with Tewksbury, Wilmington, Andover, North Andover, Merrimac, and Amesbury, in a Senate District that is 81% white by population and 88% white by eligible voters. These Latinxs in the Acre neighborhood are extremely unlikely to overcome these factors to elect a candidate of choice.