LatinoJustice Prepared to Defend Hispanic Voters in NY District 7

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 25, 2011

CONTACT: Madeline Friedman, Media Relations Coordinator, 212-739-7581, mfriedman@latinojustice.org


LatinoJustice PRLDEF today announced that it is prepared to take legal action to combat any attempts by the state legislature to dilute the numbers of Hispanic voters in New York’s Congressional District 7, which over the years has become increasingly Hispanic. Hispanics now constitute a dominant portion of the population in the district.

Hispanics are currently the largest group in District 7, with over 44.4 percent of the total population, according to census data released yesterday.

The rest of the district’s residents are 16.4 percent African American, 16.3 percent Asian, and 20.7 percent White.

District 7 is covered under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act which prohibits “retrogression” –any attempt by the legislature to reduce the percentage of voters in a protected class. Hispanics are protected under the Voting Rights Act.

Given New York’s loss of two congressional seats, all of the 25 remaining districts in the state will have to grow in population when state legislators redraw district boundary lines over the next year.

In previous years, there have been attempts to divide the Hispanic community among several different districts, thereby diluting their ability to elect a representative who is responsible to their concerns. LatinoJustice PRLDEF will take whatever appropriate legal action is necessary to ensure that there is no reduction in the percentage of Hispanics when congressional districts are redrawn by the legislature to increase their population size.

“The Latino community will not permit any attempts to reduce their voting representation,” said Jose Perez, LatinoJustice PRLDEF Associate General Counsel. “Redistricting is a crucial component of our democratic form of government, one that if done correctly and in compliance with the law, ensures that the Latino community will have the ability to achieve equitable representation and enhance its political power in recognition of the growing number of Latinos. LatinoJustice has been involved in redistricting since its founding almost forty years ago, and we have been very successful in using the Voting Rights Act and the law to protect the interests of the Latino community.”

District 7 consists of parts of Northern Queens and the Eastern portions of the Bronx. The population of the district is over 685,000. The Hispanic population has grown by approximately 28,700 people since the year 2000.

New York lost two of its 27 congressional seats when the 435 United States congressional seats were re-apportioned after the completion of the U.S. Census taken during 2010.

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