AALDEF Commends Court-Drawn Congressional Redistricting Plan For Keeping Asian American Communities Together
Yesterday evening, Special Master Roanne Mann, the federal magistrate judge appointed to draw New York state Congressional district lines in Favors v. Cuomo, released the court’s proposed Congressional redistricting plan. “The proposed district lines are a positive development, since the court’s plan largely keeps Asian American communities together,” said Jerry Vattamala, staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). “We are glad that the court acknowledged the voting rights concerns of New York’s fast-growing Asian American community in the redistricting process.”
AALDEF submitted the Unity Map, its redistricting plan to protect the voting rights of Asian Americans and other communities of color, to Special Master Mann, including detailed neighborhood maps, ethnic data, and communities of interest surveys. In addition, AALDEF submitted formal commentary on alternative plans proposed by other civic organizations and legislative parties.
At yesterday’s hearing in Favors v. Cuomo, AALDEF urged the court to take into account Asian American neighborhood boundaries in New York City when drawing new district lines.
Under the Special Master’s congressional redistricting proposal:
- Proposed District 6 (Asian VAP 37.9% ) corresponds to AALDEF’s Unity Map by retaining the Asian American community in Queens (in Flushing/Bayside, Elmhurst and Briarwood/Jamaica Hills) within one district.
- Proposed District 7 (Asian VAP 19.8%) likewise adheres to the Unity Map by keeping the community of interest in Manhattan’s Chinatown and Brooklyn’s Sunset Park within one district.
- Proposed District 14 (Asian VAP 16.1%) retains the Asian American community of interest in Jackson Heights and Woodside, Queens within one district.
- Proposed District 5 (Asian VAP 11.5%) retains the Asian American community of interest in Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park within one district.
“In particular, we note the Special Master’s proposal is consistent with the Eastern District’s precedent of recognizing that Sunset Park and Chinatown are a single community of interest,” said Vattamala. “This was first affirmed by this court in 1997 in Diaz v. Silver, then in 2002 in Rodriguez v. Pataki, and now, in 2012, in Favors v. Cuomo.”
Percentages below are from the Department of Justice on Voting Age Population (VAP)