Advises caution when addressing redistricting

To the Editor:

Be careful what you wish for.

Shortly after the RTM passed an ordinance, which reduced town voting districts from 10 to eight, a headline appeared which read “GOP gets its wish, Fairfield redrawn.” Not so fast.

Two local prominent attorneys, both former RTM moderators, pursued the matter in court. The court granted a temporary injunction. Why? Because the RTM majority, which had voted along party lines, participated in a flawed process, which violated both the town charter and their own RTM Rules. They totally disregarded the advice of the town attorney in this action.

As was pointed out in a recent letter by Jerry McTeague, not one member of the Republican party had the integrity and wisdom to stand up and stop this nonsense. Not one.

The court cited the following more specific reasons for granting the injunction: In addition to the ignoring the process provided in the town charter, the plan “had failed to include certain electors in any of the voting districts, crossed too many assembly district lines, was not based on population data from the most recent census, exceeded the 10% requirement, was vague, unclear and ambiguous and replete with errors, and improperly reduces the number of representatives elected to the RTM from 50 to 40 members.”

The act of reducing the number of districts from 10 to eight results in much larger numbers of constituents to serve with a greater variety of issues to address. Larger districts tend to reduce the amount of personal contact voters have with their elected representatives — so be careful what you wish for.

Our right to vote is so fundamental to our democratic form of government. We can’t afford to make mistakes. The court agreed with the plaintiff that the conduct of the RTM will directly affect his voting rights to some extent, and could diminish the effectiveness of his vote, as well as his right to be properly represented.

 

Robert Stone

Fairfield

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