Community Organizations Demand State Leaders Fill in Details on Redistricting Process
- Claire Snyder-Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
Coalition asks state leaders to provide specific hearing dates by first public hearing date
Today, a diverse coalition is asking state leaders to come forward with specific redistricting hearing dates and times by September 28, the date of the first and only announced hearing. On September 10, state leaders announced a general outline of the redistricting process in response to pressure from Common Cause Delaware. State leaders said dates would be announced “later this month,” but more than two weeks later, no dates have been publicized. Coalition leaders are now asking state leaders to take the next step and provide dates, times, locations with plenty of notice.
“It’s not enough for state leaders to say there will be public hearings; they need to share the actual dates too,” said Claire Snyder-Hall, director of Common Cause Delaware. “People need to get the hearing dates on their calendars. With the General Assembly promising to rush this process through in less than two months, the clock is ticking. We hope state leaders announce hearing dates soon so as many voters as possible can have a say in these decisions that impact our lives.”
The Delaware Fair Maps Coalition has also asked legislators to sign a pledge stating that they will follow the Delaware Code and not vote for “any map that has been drawn for the purpose of including or excluding within any district the address of any individual,” and that they will vote only for maps that “prioritize protecting communities, particularly those who have been historically harmed by redistricting.”
“We are asking state legislators to sign the pledge, in addition to sharing details on how the public can participate in this year’s redistricting cycle,” said Dwayne Bensing, Staff Attorney at the ACLU-DE. “Without a commitment to fairness, transparency and accountability, the process will be driven by politicians looking to win re-election, not the voters who deserve accountability. ”
On August 4, the grassroots coalition sent state leaders a letter asking for a fair, transparent, and participatory redistricting process. More than a month later, state leaders announced the redistricting cycle will officially begin on September 28 and will conclude by November 8. The timeline provides less than two months to draw new district maps for the state legislature that will determine the fate of elections for the next decade.
An important new feature of this year’s redistricting cycle is the end of prison gerrymandering. This year marks the first time Delaware will count incarcerated people at their last known address, instead of at prisons, for purposes of redistricting. Data should be provided to the public about how the General Assembly has properly counted incarcerated people in accordance with State law and how this will impact the population of each proposed district.
“It’s important that everyone in Delaware have confidence that this year’s redistricting process protects communities of interest,” said Kyra Hoffner from the League of Women Voters Delaware. “Redistricting will determine if every eligible voter in Delaware has the right to vote for better working conditions, stronger schools, and racial justice. We hope our leaders provide a democratic process that is inclusive and accessible to everyone.”
To date, community members have submitted proposed district maps for the state legislature’s consideration and the coalition is recruiting fair maps advocates to evaluate proposed maps.
The grassroots coalition includes Common Cause Delaware, the League of Women Voters, ACLU-Delaware, Network Delaware, Newark DE NAACP, the Latin American Community Center, and many more.