Voces statement 7/14/2011:
Community requests three weeks to evaluate GOP map for fair representation
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Assembly State Affairs Committee held a public hearing at the State Capitol on Senate Bill 150, the Republican-led plan to create new redistricting boundaries. The plan would force the city of Milwaukee to redraw its wards, and raises serious concerns about civil rights violations for African-Americans, Latinos, and other minorities.
In sharp contrast to the City of Milwaukee’s transparent and participatory process, the state redistricting map is being fast tracked with limited information provided to Wisconsin residents and state elected officials. Indeed, the new state map, will force the City of Milwaukee to uselessly spend more money to redo the redistricting process at the city level. According to civil rights attorney, Peter Earle, speaking on behalf of Voces de la Frontera: “The Republican majority intends to fast-track this proposal in a way that precludes any meaningful participation by any community of interest- Latinos, African-Americans, urban residents, suburban residents, rural residents, young and old.
First, they make the map public only four days ago. Then they do not provide detailed census block data in a user-friendly format that allows the citizenry to evaluate the proposed map or explore alternatives. Third, the summary demographic information provided with the map is insufficient to assess its compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
Also speaking on behalf of Voces, Freya Neumann, a retired Wisconsin teacher of 30 years, testified: “We stand in solidarity with the NAACP and the African-American community. We demand a process that is transparent, and protects the civil rights of all Wisconsinites. We need to ensure that marginalized communities are part of the democratic process. As a naturalized US citizen who swore to uphold the democratic principles on which our nation was founded, I call on all of you elected officials to do the same.”
Addressing the committee chair directly, Earle stated, “If you don’t slow this process down and hold hearings to allow the three weeks needed to understand this process, you will go down in history as having done serious violence to the integrity of representative government.”
Joe Shansky 414- 218-3331