Drawing Democracy has released our Unity Maps for Congress, the Massachusetts State House and State Senate. We also launched a new tool in partnership with the Center for Urban Research at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York called Redistricting & You. The tool allows users to toggle between current Congressional, State House and State Senate districts and the new districts proposed by Drawing Democracy. It also makes it easy to search by street address or other locations and access a wealth of information about local population and voting patterns. Redistricting & You is free and available to everyone at this link. It will be updated soon to reflect the districts proposed by the legislature.
The Unity Maps align with Drawing Democracy's goals to keep communities of interest whole and increase political power for BIPOC, immigrant and low-income communities. They were built based on around 100 community of interest maps and extensive conversations with community partners and legislative leaders from across Massachusetts.
State House Unity Map
The proposed House map increases the number of majority-minority districts based on total population from 20 to 29, including five districts that are majority-Latinx and six that are majority-Black. 27 of these districts are majority-minority according to Voting Age Population (VAP) and 16 are majority-minority according to Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP). For a more detailed breakdown of the proposed changes, click here.
State Senate Unity Map
The proposed Senate map increases the number of majority-minority districts based on total population from three to seven, including a majority Black Senate District in Boston and a majority Latinx Senate District anchored in Lawrence. Seven of these districts are majority-minority according to VAP, and two are majority-minority according to CVAP. For a more detailed breakdown of the proposed changes, click here.
Congressional Unity Map
The proposed Congressional map preserves the majority-minority status of the Seventh Congressional District, which was drawn during the 2011 redistricting process, as well as unites the immigrant communities of Fall River and New Bedford into the Ninth Congressional District.
Redistricting Committee's Draft Maps:
The Redistricting Committee Co-Chairs, Senator William Brownsberger and Representative Mike Moran, released their proposed State Senate and State House maps on October 12th. The proposed House map adopts many of Drawing Democracy's proposals and creates 33 majority-BIPOC districts. On the Senate side, Drawing Democracy was pleased to see stronger BIPOC representation in Worcester and Springfield. Unfortunately, beyond that, the proposed Senate map is disappointing, primarily due to its heavy reliance on Citizen Voting Age Population (CVAP). 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. It also fails to unite Brockton with the similar communities of Randolph and Stoughton. Furthermore, while the legislature followed Drawing Democracy's recommendation to combine Lawrence with the more similar community of Methuen, rather than Andover, we have serious concerns that the proposed configuration dilutes the voting power of Latinx residents in Haverhill.
Drawing Democracy urges community members to make their voices heard about these proposed maps. There will be a public hearing on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 1 pm. Please sign up to provide testimony here. Public comment can be submitted here through October 18th.