Common Cause calls for pause to redistricting process

Common Cause calls for pause to redistricting process

Commission should halt the redistricting process

Common Cause Rhode Island issued the following statement regarding the redistricting process in Rhode Island:

Common Cause Rhode Island expresses deep disappointment about the drawing of the proposed maps for Rhode Island’s congressional districts. The proposed maps, designated as “Plan E,” move over 100,000 people according to media reports, when the legal requirement to reapportion required a shift of approximately 7200 people. We believe the redistricting commission has not done due diligence in preparing these plans, using incomplete information to justify their decisions. Common Cause believes the commission should halt the process and wait until all of the necessary information is available before proceeding.

In 2010 Common Cause introduced legislation that would have prohibited the redistricting commission from considering the home address of incumbent politicians in the production of plans. In the first hearings of the commission in 2011 we asked that they not protect incumbents in this process. Both efforts were met with silence. We believe that no districts should be drawn to protect an incumbent politician, or advantage a particular candidate, whoever they may be.

While the commission’s consultant has publicly stated his intent to maximize minority representation with the current plans, including those for the General Assembly, we believe there is no way to assess that claim at this point. The redistricting commission has yet to receive any information about the turnout or voting behavior of the minority communities in Rhode Island, information that is necessary to determine whether districts viably meet the majority minority designation. According to a report by WPRI’s Ted Nesi, Congressman David Cicilline’s campaign had access to such information. The commission’s failure to receive this information is a result of Rhode Island being the only state in the nation to not fully participate in Phase II of the Census redistricting program.

Because of the lack of necessary information we believe this process should not move forward at this time.