AALDEF Preliminary Response to LATFOR Redistricting Maps' Impact on Asian Americans

Thursday, Jan 26, 2012

Latfor.JPGJanuary 26, 2012 -- This afternoon the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) released its proposed redistricting maps for New York State Assembly and New York State Senate districts. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has been advocating for a redistricting proposal that protects the voting rights of Asian Americans and other communities of color. Together with LatinoJustice PRLDEF, National Institute for Latino Policy (NILP), and the Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) of Medgar Evers College, AALDEF released the Unity Map, a proposed redistricting plan for New York City.

Below are AALDEF's preliminary comments on LATFOR's proposed New York Senate and Assembly maps:

LATFOR's Proposed State Senate Map

SD 16 - Under LATFOR's proposal, there is one Asian American majority State Senate district (52.20% Non-Hispanic Asian voting age population (VAP)), which includes Flushing, Queens. Currently, there are no Asian American majority Senate districts.

"We're glad that LATFOR recognized the importance of creating a majority Asian American Senate district," said AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung. "But the contorted district lines of SD 16 split the neighborhood of Flushing. A compact district in Flushing-Bayside should be drawn to keep Asian American communities of interest together in these neighborhoods, as we demonstrated in the Unity Map."

LATFOR's Proposed State Assembly Map

Under LATFOR's proposal, there are three proposed majority Asian American State Assembly districts:

AD 40 - LATFOR's proposed district retains the existing Asian American majority district (AD 22)  in Flushing, Queens (63.44% NH Asian VAP).

AD 49 - LATFOR's proposed district creates for the first time an Asian American majority district in Sunset Park and Bensonhurst, Brooklyn (50.11% NH Asian VAP).

AD 25 - LATFOR's proposed district creates a second Asian American majority district in southern Flushing and Bayside, Queens (52.52% NH Asian VAP).

"As a general matter, we are pleased that LATFOR has increased the number of Asian American majority Assembly districts from one to three," said Jerry Vattamala, staff attorney with AALDEF's Democracy Project. He added that a majority Asian American Assembly district has also been created for the first time in Sunset Park and Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Under the Unity Map, AALDEF proposed four Asian American majority State Assembly districts, with the fourth in the neighborhood of Elmhurst.

"While AD 49 is similar to our Unity Map, the South Asian community of Richmond Hill-South Ozone Park continues to remain divided between multiple State Assembly districts," said Vattamala. "The Unity Map would have kept the Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park neighborhoods substantially together within a single Assembly district."

AALDEF will be releasing a detailed analysis of the effects of LATFOR's proposed maps on Asian American political representation.

Ujala Sehgal
Communications Coordinator
(C) 646.207.1497
(P) 212.966.5932 ex. 217

Jerry Vattamala
Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 ex. 209

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