Demand fair redistricting for communities of color (Letter to the editor)
Imani Oakley’s recent Town Square opinion piece on whether Democrats may push to combine all of Montclair into a redrawn 11th congressional district, which would affect the historically Black 10th congressional district, underscores why citizens need to be engaged in the redistricting process underway in New Jersey.
She states that redistricting decisions might be made to advance political party interests instead of improving representation for the South End and Fourth Ward of Montclair.
The League of Women Voters of New Jersey is leading a coalition called “Fair Districts NJ” to push the NJ Redistricting Commission for a process grounded in meaningful public engagement. It seeks at least 25 public meetings across New Jersey to get citizen input, and the development of clear, non-partisan line-drawing standards ranked in order of priority to guide redistricting commissioners and provide checks against political manipulation, including:
- A racial equity provision that reinforces the principles of the Voting Rights Act and ensures that New Jersey’s communities of color have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process.
- Preservation of communities of interest to the greatest extent possible, as determined through testimony derived through the public engagement process.
- That plans shall not be established for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring any office holder, candidate or political party.
These are the principles that should be guiding the redrawn maps. It’s imperative that voters make their views heard, as Ms. Oakley stated. Anyone can sign up to attend upcoming public meetings at fairdistrictsnj.org/events. It’s critical that we push the partisan commissioners to put power where it belongs — into the hands of New Jersey voters.
Chair of Voter Services, League of Women Voters of the Montclair Area
Montclair Local's Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.
Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail "Letters to the Editor," 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer's name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.
Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week's Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.
Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our "Town Square" banner. "Town Square" essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to email@example.com at least seven days prior to publication.