Re-districting or gerrymandering?

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

The Massachusetts legislature overwhelmingly approved new House district maps this week. One of these changes resulted in the removal of a small neighborhood in West Peabody (Ward 5, Precinct 2 - moving it from the 13th Essex District into the 12th Essex) and replacing it with another identical small neighborhood in West Peabody (Ward 5, Precinct 3 - moving it from the 12th Essex District into the 13th Essex).


The ostensible overall ambition for the redistricting effort this year was, according to the Boston Herald, to "make it easier for candidates of color to win seats in majority-minority cities like Worcester, Lawrence, Brockton and Chelsea over the next decade", but in this case it's blatantly obvious that this particular change was to protect my Democrat opponent by preventing me from running against her next year (House candidates must live in their District for one year).

These maps were being worked on by the 'Special Joint Committee on Redistricting' behind closed doors all spring and summer and just released and voted on last week. So much for transparency.


Interestingly, an increasing number of states use independent commissions to re-draw these maps to avoid any appearance of impropriety or partisanship. Of course, with a super majority in the House there's no need to put on any airs about the desired outcome - in this case to protect the seat of a Democrat they knew would lose the next election.


Like regular legislation, Massachusetts' state legislative lines are drawn and passed by the legislature, and are subject to veto by Gov. Baker. The question is does Gov. Baker have the courage to stand up to the Democrats for a fellow Republican newcomer with no political power?



UPDATE: The first ten minutes of the October 27, 2021 episode of You Make the Call discusses this. You can watch here: https://www.facebook.com/barry.sinewitz/videos/205580185031377/



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