AALDEF Submits New York Redistricting Proposal to Federal Court
By the midnight deadline on Wednesday, Feb. 29, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) submitted the Unity Map, its redistricting proposal to protect the voting rights of Asian Americans, Latinos, and Blacks, to the federal magistrate judge/Special Master appointed to draw New York state district lines in Favors v. Cuomo.
The Unity Map was drawn in collaboration with LatinoJustice PRLDEF, the National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP), and the Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) of Medgar Evers College. AALDEF submitted the proposed Congressional plan under the Unity Map to the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) in late 2011.
AALDEF and pro bono counsel Kaye Scholer are representing Asian American voters who intervened in a lawsuit asking the Brooklyn federal court to draw new Congressional, State Assembly, and State Senate districts, because of the state legislature’s failure to adopt its plan in time for the 2012 primary elections.
“Now that the federal court is developing a new Congressional redistricting plan for New York, it is of utmost importance that our Unity Map proposal — which provides fair representation for Asian Americans and other communities of color — be formally considered by the Special Master,” said AALDEF staff attorney Jerry Vattamala. He emphasized: “The voting rights of Asian Americans and other communities of color must be taken into account at every step of the process.”
In its submission to the Special Master, AALDEF commented on Unity Map Congressional District 5 (Flushing/Bayside, Queens Village/Bellerose/Floral Park/Glen Oaks and Briarwood/Jamaica Hills in Queens) and District 12 (Chinatown/ Sunset Park), which would keep Asian American communities of interest together within single districts.
As of the Feb. 29 deadline, other Congressional plans have been submitted to the court by other parties. AALDEF will be reviewing and submitting commentary on these alternate plans by the Friday, March 2 midnight deadline.