As Pols Draw Up New Districts, Watchdogs Debate

By Will Roseliep

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Sept. 20, 2011

BOSTON — As election season heats up in Massachusetts, debate continues on how to redraw voting districts. Last year, the state learned it would lose a Congressional seat as the bulk of the nation's populated shifts West.
A view of the current Massachusetts' Congressional district map, which will change after redistricting removes one district. 

In an interview with WGBH's Callie Crossley, Kevin Peterson, of the watchdog group Massachusetts Empowerment Coalition, is urging Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to step into the process to ensure that minorities receive fair representation when districts are redrawn.

"We called on the governor because in the past redistricting cycles, other governors including Jane Swift and Bill Weld jumped into this process preemptively also," Peterson said.

But not all groups are happy with that suggestion. Jack E. Robinson, chairman of fairdistrictsmass.org and a former candidate for U.S. Senate, says the state needs to let the process play out first.

"I disagree that the Governor should be injecting himself into this debate at this time. I think it's a legislative process, it's the legislature that's required to present fair maps, and I would urge the Governor to standby and let's see how things pan out before the Governor is forced to take a position. I just think that it's the legislature's job, let the legislature do its job," Robinson said.

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