And, we’re off! Last week, the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting held the first public hearing of the 2021 redistricting process. The State Senators and Representatives on the committee listened to advocates from the Drawing Democracy Coalition as we made the case for why the process must be transparent, fair, and focused on ensuring equitable representation for communities of color, low-income residents, and immigrants.
At the top of Drawing Democracy’s priorities was a request for the committee to engage with our coalition throughout the process and ensure we are elevating the voices of those who are most underrepresented in government. We’re confident that this is the beginning of a strong partnership that will ensure a more healthy and reflective democracy for everyone in Massachusetts.
If you missed the hearing, you can watch the recording here or check out the news coverage here. Afterwards, if you’re feeling inspired to get involved, consider writing a letter to the editor informing your neighbors about the redistricting process! You can get more information from our LTE Toolkit.
The Drawing Democracy Fund was proud to distribute more than $300,000 in grants to 16 organizations across Massachusetts to support redistricting work. Congratulations to the grantees: Coalition for Social Justice, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, La Colaborativa, Latinx Community Center for Empowerment, Madison Park Development Corporation, Massachusetts Communities Action Network, Massachusetts Voter Education Network, Inc., Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts Education Fund, Neighbors United for a Better East Boston, New England United for Justice, Pioneer Valley Project, Quincy Asian Resources, Inc., Revere Youth in Action, Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, United Interfaith Action of Southeastern MA, and Worcester Interfaith!
President Biden announced that he will nominate Robert Santos to serve as Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. Santos is currently the President of the American Statistical Association. If confirmed by the Senate, he will make history as the first permanent director of color of the Census Bureau.
An agreement in principle has been reached in the case of National Urban League v. Raimondo, which challenged the Trump administration’s reduced timeline for collecting Census data and efforts to link citizenship to census results. The case is currently on hold until April 23rd and will likely be resolved soon.
Ohio has appealed the dismissal of the case Ohio v. Raimondo, which challenged the Census Bureau’s delayed release of redistricting data. A final ruling is imminent.
The case of Alabama v. Dep. Of Commerce, which challenges the Census Bureau’s use of differential privacy, continues to work its way through the courts. 16 states have filed amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs. The Census Bureau says the release of redistricting data would be delayed by “multiple months” if Alabama is successful. A court hearing has been scheduled for May 3.
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.
April 20, 2021: Census Bureau Data Summit: Accessing Census Bureau Data for Rural Communities
April 21, 2021: Census Bureau Educational Webinar: Insights on Upcoming Quality Metrics Release
April 22, 2021: Next American Statistical Association (ASA) update
April 22, 2021: Census Bureau Data Summit: Statistics in Schools – Bringing Census Bureau Data to Classrooms
April 23, 2021: Census Updates Webinar hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
April 29, 2021: Census Bureau Data Summit: Census Builder for Small Business Retailers and Service Establishments
May 3, 2021: Motion for preliminary injunction hearing in Alabama v. Dep. of Commerce
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 stated that this data may be available as early as August 16, 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.