Here is an excerpt from an epic Boston Globe article marking the occasion of one of the most voter-empowering redistricting laws in recent history, thanks to MassVOTE, our coalition partners, and the legislators who brilliantly performed their duties on the redistricting commission. [Photo credit: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff]
Here is an excerpt from the Globe article:
For the first time in decades, the Legislature, led by Moran and his counterpart in the Senate, managed to create new state legislative and US congressional districts that by and large put the voters’ interests above the politicians’. You ask: Shouldn’t it always be that way? Of course it should. It just never is.
In a political culture long known for its reflexive acts of self-preservation, the joint legislative committee in charge of redistricting – and by extension the legislative leaders – accomplished something historic. In short, they got it right. Did it leave some people angry? Certainly. Was the process entirely apolitical? Please. Still, the redistricting exercise and the maps it produced were such a vast improvement over years past that a new standard has been set, and much higher than anyone realistically expected. “Night and day doesn’t even begin to describe it,” says Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, co-director of the civic organization MassVOTE, comparing this cycle with the last one, a decade ago.
Crawford and her ilk – voting-rights advocates, good-government types, minority leaders, community activists – aren’t accustomed to beaming behind governors when redistricting bills are signed. No, they’re typically challenging the maps in court, on the grounds that lawmakers trampled the rights of the electorate for their own sakes. Litigation has followed at least the past three cycles of redistricting, going back three decades. If you ask people about the last round, 10 years ago, “disaster” is a popular descriptor.