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Calling All CT Citizens to Participate in Redistricting

July 5, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. - Every 10 years, after the Census, Connecticut is required to redraw both Congressional and state legislative districts. Hearings are being held, starting tonight in Waterbury, to allow the public to weigh in on the process.

Patricia Donovan, reapportionment specialist with the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, says a group of eight legislators - four Democrats and four Republicans - is in charge, but they expect to hear from voters.

"There can be pressures brought by different political groups or special interest groups. In the state of Connecticut, anyone is free to file their map and see if it can become part of the official plan."

She says the Census showed Latinos account for the biggest population growth in the state, and the plan should reflect that population - especially in terms of racial and ethnic diversity.

The five meetings, one in each congressional district, will take place over the next two weeks.

While the League does not endorse any specific redistricting plan, Donovan says it promotes as much public input in the process as possible and has an overall goal for each district.

"We would like to see districts be contiguous and compact; not have areas broken up by artificial means."

Districts are required to represent equal numbers of voters, but sometimes politics plays a role. She says that can result in oddly shaped districts that include or exclude voters more likely to support one party or the other. This week's hearings are in Waterbury and Norwich, followed by Norwalk, New Haven and Hartford.

Hearing dates and locations are:
July 5, 7 p.m., Veterans' Memorial Hall, City Hall, 235 Grand St., Waterbury.
July 6, 7 p.m., Council Chambers, City Hall, 100 Broadway, Norwich.
July 18, 7 p.m., Community Room, City Hall, 125 East Ave., Norwalk.
July 19, 7 p.m., Fair Haven Middle School, 164 Grand Ave., New Haven.
July 20, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Legislative Office Building, Room 2C, Hartford.

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT