BOSTON – The Drawing Democracy Coalition is today applauding newly proposed State House districts for increasing representation for BIPOC, immigrant and low-income communities in Massachusetts, but they are also pointing to missed opportunities on the Senate side. 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. While the Coalition is pleased with proposed changes to the Lawrence, Worcester and Springfield Senate Districts, the proposal misses an opportunity to create both a majority-Black district and a BIPOC coalition district in Boston and fails to unite Brockton with similar neighboring communities.
“The Drawing Democracy Coalition is grateful to have enjoyed a strong working relationship with the Redistricting Committee Co-Chairs Senator Brownsberger and Representative Moran, and we appreciate their diligent work on the challenging task of redistricting Massachusetts,” said Beth Huang, convener of the Drawing Democracy Coalition and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Voter Table. “We are particularly pleased to see that the proposed House districts follow many of our recommendations to increase the number of majority-BIPOC districts and build political power in our communities. In the Senate, we are proud that the proposed map adopts our recommendations to unite Lawrence with the similar community of Methuen, rather than Andover, and also strengthens BIPOC representation in Worcester and Springfield.
“However, we have serious concerns with several of the proposed Senate districts. These concerns stem from the Senate’s sole reliance on using Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP) to guide the district drawing. An overreliance on CVAP can dilute the power of the BIPOC voters because it does not take into consideration younger people of color and others who are not eligible to vote due to archaic and discriminatory voting laws. As such, the proposed Senate map overconcentrates BIPOC communities in a majority-Black Senate district that is nearly 80% BIPOC but misses a vital opportunity to draw a strong coalition district in Boston and fails to unite Brockton with the similar communities of Randolph and Stoughton. We urge the Redistricting Committee to reconsider these districts, and we encourage community members to participate in the public comment period to make their voices heard.”
In September, the Drawing Democracy Coalition released their State Senate Unity Map, which increased the number of majority-minority districts based on population from three to seven. The Coalition also released Unity Maps for the State House and Congress, as well as launched the Redistricting & You tool, which allows users to easily compare existing districts and proposed districts. The tool will soon be updated to include the legislature’s draft House and Senate districts.
Community members are encouraged to provide public comment on the proposed maps through the Redistricting Committee’s website through October 18, 2021.