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Latino Advocates Slam California’s New Redistricting Maps

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Tuesday, November 16, 2021   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Latino civil-rights groups are criticizing the draft legislative maps just released by the California Citizens' Redistricting Commission, saying they give the community short shrift.

The 2020 census showed Latinos accounted for more than two-thirds of the state's population growth over the last decade.

Arturo Vargas, CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, called the maps a hatchet job which might reduce Latino influence rather than increase it.

"They're sacrificing the voting rights of protected voters over trying to keep counties whole," Vargas asserted. "Preserving county and city lines should be secondary to complying with the Voting Rights Act."

People can find the draft maps and leave public comment at wedrawthelinesca.org. In addition, the commission will be taking public comment at six meetings tomorrow through next Tuesday. Then comes more than a dozen line-drawing meetings. The final report meeting is set for Dec. 21.

The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund submitted proposed maps designed to give Latinos a fair opportunity to elect candidates of their choice based on the population.

But Vargas pointed out the maps unnecessarily break up Latino areas, particularly in Southeast Los Angeles.

"And maps that the prior commission drew that unified some Latino communities of interest, they appear to be completely dismantled," Vargas observed.

NALEO encouraged people to make their voices heard. Advocates noted if the final maps don't change significantly, the dispute may need to be settled in court.


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