How we will achieve #FairMapsMA

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

Whether you’re new to the Drawing Democracy community or you’ve been with us from the start, we wanted to express our appreciation for your commitment to ensuring a transparent and fair redistricting process in Massachusetts. We have a lot of work ahead of us in the coming months, but we know that with your partnership, we can achieve fair maps that equitably represent BIPOC communities, low-income people and immigrants. So how can you help? Here are the most important action steps for you to take right now: ✅ Be sure to like and follow us on Twitter @DrawingDemMA and on Facebook @DrawingDemocracy. ✅ Forward this email to three of your friends and encourage them to sign up for updates. ✅ Check out the resources on our website to learn more about redistricting. We will continue to update you each step of the way about new developments in the redistricting process and how you can get involved. The best way to achieve fair maps is to amplify the voices of community members most impacted by redistricting, and that’s our core mission here at Drawing Democracy. We can’t do it without you. Thank you, The Drawing Democracy Team


Important Updates

  • Former Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Commerce on March 3, 2021. She will oversee the Census Bureau, which is charged with producing the data that will be used for redistricting.

  • The American Statistical Association (ASA) has been providing biweekly public updates about its efforts to assess data quality. These will provide a critical view into the redistricting data’s fitness for use.

  • Since February, the Census Bureau has been more transparent about its data processing efforts, including weekly blog posts explaining different aspects of its operations.

  • Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin recently informed the state legislature that state laws for redrawing precincts will need to change due to the census data delay. He also noted continued concern with communication from the Census Bureau and reiterated the possibility that he may legally challenge the results.

  • A U.S. District Judge dismissed the case of Ohio v Raimondo, in which the Ohio Attorney General challenged the delayed redistricting schedule, which currently sets the release date for redistricting data on September 30. While this delay is not ideal, we believe it is essential to ensure that the Bureau has the time necessary to produce quality data. Ohio has appealed the dismissal, but the appeal will not be heard until at least mid-April.

  • A similar case – Alabama v Dept of Commerce – is also working its way through the courts. In addition to challenging the delayed redistricting schedule, plaintiffs are also challenging the Bureau’s intended use of "differential privacy," which allows the Bureau to avoid disclosing some information to protect the private information of census respondents.

Important Upcoming Dates

  • April 8, 2021: Census Bureau kicks off their 2021 Data Summit Series at 2 pm with a free, virtual webinar called “Census Bureau Data for Everyone.” You can register here.

  • April 15, 2021: Next scheduled ASA update.

  • April 16 - April 30, 2021: Projected window for delivery of apportionment data to the states. Based on the 2020 Census, this will provide the total population for each state.

  • June 15, 2021: Statutory deadline for new wards and precincts to be drawn in Massachusetts. Since wards and precincts are supposed to be based on redistricting data, we anticipate this deadline will be pushed back.

  • September 30, 2021: Projected deadline for delivery of detailed redistricting data to the states by the Census Bureau. The Bureau has suggested that this data may be available as early as mid-August, though if so, it would be in a less user-friendly format.

  • November 8, 2021: Deadline for Massachusetts State House candidates to begin residence in their district in order to qualify for the 2022 State House elections.