In the Queens Tribune
article "Fighting for Representation: Battles on the Horizon over Redistricting in Burgeoning Asian Communities
," Ross Barkin writes about a growing legislative redistricting controversy in Eastern Queens.
Already, a skirmish is underway between the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside). AALDEF, along with the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the National Institute for Latino Policy, came together to create a “Unity Map,” a proposal for redistricting Congressional, Assembly, and State Senate lines in the City. AALDEF, along with these other groups, seeks to take into account the shifting demographics in the 2010 Census, including the surge in the Asian population of northeast Queens.
The Queens Chinese population has grown by nearly 43 percent since 2000, and the Asian Indian population has jumped almost 8 percent. Overall, the Asian population in Queens is roughly 23 percent.
He discusses the arguments from politicians, advocacy groups and community interests. He turns to Social Explorer's Andrew Beveridge for further explanation of the issues:
Ultimately, whether or not the Asian population deserves more favorable district lines, their advocates’ efforts will most likely fail because the legal process will foil them, said redistricting consultant and Queens College sociology professor Dr. Andrew Beveridge.
“The law is that to have the ability legally to get a district, you need several criteria,” he said. “One is that you have to have a history of polarized voting, with non-Asian groups that frustrate the ability to form a voting bloc. You need Asians voting cohesively as a bloc. And a third thing you need to show is that there is a district where they would have a majority if you drew it.”
Beveridge explained that at least 50 percent of citizens of a voting age population are needed to form a specific voting coalition. Although the Asian population in the district created may exceed 50 percent, those who cannot vote—especially non-citizen immigrants—will lower that percentage. An “Asian influence” district could be formed, but it would be up to politicians to accommodate the expanding minority.
Beveridge said he does not think they will.
Read the whole article here.