CLSJ Statement on Special Masters Redistricting Cards – Our Time Press
by Lurie Daniel Favors
As a member of the Unity Map Coalition, a consortium of New York City civil rights organizations, the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College is alarmed that the proposed new redistricting maps ignore decades of strenuous efforts to preserve and improve elections. power within historically disenfranchised communities. The maps drawn by court-appointed special master Dr. Jonathan Cervas ignore many communities of interest, which are critical to protecting the voting rights and voting power of New York’s Black, Latino and Asian communities.
While the court order emphasized the need for nonpartisan maps, it is equally important that these maps preserve communities of interest, as required by the New York State Constitution. As our unity maps demonstrate, it is possible to draw fair maps that adhere to the principles of the US Constitution’s “one person, one vote”; comply with voting rights law; protect communities of interest as required by the New York State Constitution and preserve traditional and emerging neighborhoods. Master Cervas’ special cards do not meet all of these requirements: they unnecessarily divide communities and neighborhoods without considering the impact on voters of color or the protections of federal suffrage law.
Our communities will suffer if these maps are passed, which divide several historic black neighborhoods including Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and Co-op City, diluting black voting power at a time when voting rights are under national attack.
As members of the Unity Map Coalition, we stand with our coalition partners to demand changes to proposed maps that ensure a fair distribution of voting power in New York State.
Lurie Daniel-Favors, Esq.
Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College