Statement Regarding Boston’s Redistricting Process

Voting Rights

Community Statement Regarding Boston City Council’s 2023 Redistricting Process

The Boston City Council passed a redistricting map.  In the view of civil rights and community groups — including the NAACP Boston BranchMassVOTE, the Massachusetts Voter Table, the Chinese Progressive AssociationLa Colaborativa, and New England United for Justice (the “Coalition”) — this rushed and flawed process sends an alarming message to civil rights and voting rights communities.  

Boston continues to have more work to do on the road to a more perfect union.

At minimum, civil rights and voting rights groups should have been meaningfully incorporated into the process immediately after the federal court decision came down.  More dialogue and public engagement on the front end would have prevented chaos, voter confusion, and the Coalition’s need to seek relief in court

At every step, Coalition members have been available to provide much needed community input and voting rights expertise and have been rejected, while other groups that do not have a civil rights inclination have been centered.  City officials must do more to meaningfully collaborate with civil rights and voting rights groups in redistricting and beyond. 

Regardless of the outcome, the Coalition is committed to securing a better process going forward.  Openness and transparency are critical to ensure that all community voices can be heard, and that minority voting power can be preserved.  The existence of Boston’s opportunity districts — Districts 3, 4, 5 and 7 — depend on the City’s commitment to those ideals.  In this process, we should have strengthened the opportunity districts. 

We will continue to look for bright spots in the map adopted today such as the inclusion of precinct 14-14 in District 5. This and many other victories would not have been possible without the Coalition’s perseverance and persistent advocacy.  

As Boston’s guardians of civil rights, the Coalition will remain a watch-dog to protect voters of color.