Support the Reprecincting Bill
The delayed Census numbers make redistricting harder for everyone.
H.3863 will make redistricting better for voters, leading to better maps and better experiences for voters. It will also make drawing new precinct lines -- and administering elections -- easier for town clerks and city election officials. This modest change will allow the state legislature to proceed with redistricting before drawing precinct lines.
This legislation will enable the Redistricting Committee have the flexibility to increase political power in communities of color. Ask Governor Baker to support H.3863, An Act Relative to Reprecincting.
Here is what you need to know:
- This year, due to both the pandemic and, arguably, by mismanagement of in the Census process by the Trump Administration, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will get the US Census data for redistricting months and months behind schedule. The longer redistricting is delayed, the longer it is before state representatives and state senators can start getting to know -- and serving their new constituents -- and vice versa. In June of 2011, for example, the cycle of making new precinct boundaries was already well underway. This year, it can't even begin until the end of summer. At that point, cities and towns that usually get months to make new precincts will be expected to do so in just a few weeks, and any oversights in their processes could subject them to risk of litigation for violating open meeting and/or voting rights requirements. Some municipalities will be attempting to run this process just as they prepare for fall elections. This is a mess.
- H.3863 makes a small, necessary step to address the problem while reducing the pressure on towns and cities to make new precinct lines. It does so by having the state legislature start first. It gives the Joint Committee on Redistricting the mandate to proceed with redistricting using new census data when as soon as the data arrives. Then it lets cities and towns make their precincts after the new district lines are set.
- Proceeding with redistricting in this way is a modest step, and, indeed, the Joint Committee on Redistricting recommended that such a step be taken in its final report after the most recent Massachusetts redistricting process ten years ago.