LatinoJustice PRLDEF Files Complaint on Behalf of NY Latino Voters in Redistricting Case
On December 27, 2011 LatinoJustice PRLDEF filed a Complaint-In-Intervention in Favors v. Cuomo on behalf of six Latino voters urging the Brooklyn Federal Court to adopt a redistricting plan that provides Latino voters in New York with equal political representation. to ensure that Latino voting interests are adequately represented.
Several of the Latino proposed intervenors reside in “Section 5 covered jurisdictions”, ie Bronx and Kings Counties which require U.S. Dept. of Justice pre-clearance of any proposed voting or election changes. Others reside in Westchester, Orange and Suffolk Counties.
The current political maps -- drawn a decade ago - do not take into account the growth of the Latino population in New York State, leaving Latino communities severely underrepresented. The current district lines are invalid under the U.S. Constitution and state law because Latino votes would count less than the votes of other New Yorkers.
LatinoJustice’s complaint raises equal protection and due process claims based upon the malapportionment of current electoral district lines which would violate the “one person-one vote” fundamental principle.
Inasmuch as the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) and the New York State Legislature, the two entities charged with redrawing district lines, had not yet released new maps for the 2012 primaries. LatinoJustice's complaint requests that an independent party or "Special Master" be appointed to redraw districts.
LatinoJustice along with the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, and the National Institute for Latino Policy had previously submitted the Unity Map, which proposes district lines for New York City state assembly, state senate, and Congressional districts. Under the Unity Map, which complies with the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and all other laws, there are (fill in the blank) Latino majority assembly districts and (fill in blank) majority senate districts.