Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Asian-American voters disenfranchised?

Are Asian-American voters in New York disenfranchised by the way election districts are set up in the state? Members of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund think so. According to an article in the Daily News:
Asian-American voters in Queens and Brooklyn sued the governor and other state officials this week, saying their voting power is unfairly limited by the way the state’s legislative districts are drawn.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a complaint Wednesday on behalf of four New Yorkers, arguing they must get equal political representation when the state rejiggers district lines after the most recent census.

"The current district lines are invalid under the U.S. Constitution and state law because Asian Americans' votes count less than the votes of other New Yorkers,” said Glenn Magpantay, director of AALDEF's Democracy Program.

The way lines are currently drawn, AALDEF argues, the city’s largest Asian-American neighborhoods are split up into different districts, breaking up what could be a powerful voting block.

While New York City’s Asian-American population spiked by 32% to over one million in the past ten years, according to the census, there is only one Asian-American representative in the entire state legislature — Flushing Assemblywoman Grace Meng.

Because the lines are currently drawn by a state task force largely made up of legislators themselves, critics say pols simply try to move boundaries to help their own party’s interest, sometimes creating wacky shapes.
The rest of the article is here.

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