Lowell election district map to stay unchanged till 2020 census knowledge launched

LOWELL — Following a two-month public remark interval, a voting rights skilled employed town just isn’t going to make any adjustments to the proposed election district map for Lowell till up to date census figures turn out to be accessible later this 12 months.

The town made the announcement way of a press launch after Nathaniel Persily launched a proposed map in November and spent two months gathering public remark.

Mayor John Leahy mentioned he hopes a ultimate map, primarily based on 2020 census numbers, will probably be accessible late March or early April. That may imply the map is in place earlier than candidates can start pulling papers in June.

“The best way the map is true now’s the way it will keep till we get our census numbers,” he mentioned.

The proposal, which splits town into eight election districts, will probably be used when town later this 12 months implements a consent decree that ended a 2017 voting rights lawsuit that mentioned town’s earlier all at-large election system discriminated in opposition to minority voters.

Voters selected, and the Metropolis Council supported, a brand new system beneath which the Metropolis Council could have three at-large and eight district seats, with not less than two of the districts required to be minority-majority. The Faculty Committee could have two at-large and 4 district seats, with not less than one of many districts being minority-majority. Among the eight Metropolis Council districts will probably be mixed to create the 4 Faculty Committee districts.

The town has at all times recognized 2020 Census knowledge must be thought of earlier than a ultimate district map was drafted, however no extra adjustments are being made following the general public remark interval, which largely led to good critiques for Persily’s plan.

Persily is a voting rights anticipate from Stanford College, who has labored on such maps throughout the nation.

The proposal drew reward in December from an lawyer for the group that filed the voting rights lawsuit, Legal professionals for Civil Rights.

“From our perspective, your map balances competing pursuits properly,” mentioned lawyer Oren Sellstrom. “It preserves current neighborhoods and follows pure dividing traces the place doable. It retains communities of curiosity collectively and, in fact, it meets the necessities of the consent diploma.”

Persily, in a press launch issued town, mentioned the general public remark classes, performed in English, Spanish and Khmer, satisfied him the map shouldn’t be modified till extra census date arrives.

“Modifications to the proposed map will probably be made at the moment to equalize inhabitants between the districts and to keep away from precinct splits, whereas, in fact, remaining in compliance with relevant federal regulation and the court docket settlement that gave rise to this districting map,” Persily mentioned in a press launch. “I anticipate the relevant census knowledge for Massachusetts to be launched the top of Could if not a lot sooner. I’ll endeavor to make adjustments inside two weeks of receiving the information in order to launch a ultimate map at the moment.”

Supply hyperlink