Republicans should accept 10-district plan

To the Editor:

Every 10 years, after the census is counted, the congressional, State Senate and assembly districts are realigned in accordance with the “one man one vote” guidelines. As a result of the Supreme Court ruling re: Baker v. Carr in 1962, the population of the voting districts shall not exceed 10% of each other. The local political districts must be adjusted as well.

In 2006, due to a charter change, that task was assigned to the Representative Town Meeting committee made up of an equal number of members from each party. Although it could have completed this work in time for the Aug. 14th primary, it has been hopelessly deadlocked for several weeks, neither side willing to budge.

During the meetings the Republicans have proposed two plans: One with eight districts, and another with nine, while the Democrats presented maps for nine and 10 districts. There are currently 10 polling places. The Democrats prefer to maintain a 10-district plan, claiming that both sides have benefited from the current arrangement over the years.

When I attended several meetings I was disappointed to hear discussion about how difficult it was to find candidates and how the RTM could function better with fewer members. What does that have to do with proposing a new district plan? Nothing!

The focus instead should be on how the voters can best be served, and which plan is least confusing to those who need to find their polling place. Also, the more districts we have, the smaller they are, and the more likely voters are to know one or more of their representatives. In addition, smaller districts allow for more attention to neighborhood issues.

Why change if there is no compelling reason to do so? Without a good reason, the party digging in its heels just appears to look as if it has a political motive.

We used to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That mantra has served us well in the past. If the Republicans can’t come up with a good reason for reducing the number of districts, they ought to join the Democrats and realign the existing 10 districts so they comply with the new population numbers, and accomplish their task in time for the November election.

The Republicans should stop blaming the Democrats and get on with it. The voters will appreciate having the issue resolved.

Judy Ewing


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