Following Release of Redistricting Data, Drawing Democracy Launches Plan to Build Unity Map

Goal of the unity map is to keep communities whole and ensure equitable representation for BIPOC, immigrant and low-income communities

BOSTON – Following today’s release of the redistricting data by the U.S. Census Bureau and the official start of the 2021 redistricting process, the Drawing Democracy Coalition has launched its plan to build a unity map that keeps communities whole and ensures equitable representation for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, people of color (BIPOC), immigrant, and low-income communities. The unity map will be presented to the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting for their consideration at a later date.

“Redistricting is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to better ensure authentic representation and open new opportunities for building power for BIPOC, immigrant and low-income communities,” said the Drawing Democracy Coalition. “Especially as efforts are underway across the country to restrict access to voting, it is more important than ever to ensure that voters can elect representatives of their choice. While today’s release of the redistricting data is several months delayed, the Drawing Democracy Coalition is confident that, along with the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting, we have a strong plan in place to ensure that the process remains fair and transparent and that the new district maps are approved by the November 8, 2021 deadline. By working together, we can draw maps that keep our communities whole and support districts where BIPOC people make up a significant share of eligible voters.”

The new redistricting data, together with community feedback, will help create the coalition’s draft unity map. Drawing Democracy has received 99 Community of Interest (COI) map submissions from coalition members across Massachusetts, providing valuable insight from local residents into what areas of their communities are most important to keep together. The coalition has submitted these COI maps to the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting and will use them to inform the drawing of the unity map.

The unity map will reflect Drawing Democracy’s four key principles: preserving communities of interest; maximizing the probability of BIPOC communities to elect representatives of their preference; creating majority BIPOC districts and/or multiracial/ethnic coalition districts, based on the 2020 Census data, voting patterns data, Citizen Voting Age Population, and population projections; and adjusting the population of districts within allowable deviations based on incarceration rates.

The draft map will then go through extensive legal review to ensure that it complies with the Voting Rights Act, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and the Massachusetts Constitution and General Laws. Then, Drawing Democracy will solicit input from coalition members through a series of five virtual listening sessions. The coalition will make any necessary adjustments to the unity map and then present it to the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting for their consideration. During redistricting in 2011, the final maps approved by the legislature closely resembled the unity map presented by Drawing Democracy.