Brooklyn, New York: Kevin Peter Carroll, candidate for the New York City Council for the 43rd District, is praising the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) for agreeing, yesterday, to hear a case regarding partisan district lines drawn in Wisconsin meant to favor the Republican majority.
“When I first ran for District Leader in 2010, I ran on a platform of promoting redistricting reform. That issue now, finally and literally, getting its day in court” said Kevin Peter Carroll. “I said, seven years ago, that there should be a not just a single Bay Ridge assembly district but also that the neighborhood should not be split up in council, state senate, and congressional redistricting. Unfortunately, no one heeded my calls and we ended up with the same-old partisan gerrymandered maps and Republican representation in Albany because the 64th is shared with Staten Island.”
“Gerrymandering,” named after former Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, is the drawing of representative district lines in a manner to aid an electoral outcome.
Carroll continued, “Albany claimed that the state constitutional amendment that was passed alongside those maps was ‘reform.’ There is one problem with that assertion: the same lawmakers who are impacted by the lines pick the members of the commission that draws the lines. That isn’t reform.
“After I was elected, I used my bully pulpit as a District Leader and testified in front of the New York City Districting Commission that the Bay Ridge Towers should, obviously, be part of the council district which encompasses Bay Ridge. However, because of political pressuring, that ended up not happening.
“It was not until the 2016 September primary, after a slate of candidates, in a district neighboring mine, lost, did people finally start to realize that the district lines, as currently drawn have the effect of diluting neighborhoods’ voices. As the saying goes: ‘better late than never.'”
Currently, it is illegal for district lines to be drawn to blatantly assist or hinder the electoral chances of an ethnicity using means known as, respectively, “packing” and “cracking.” However, there is no such prohibition on lines being drawn based on political affiliations nor keeping neighborhoods together. Depending on how the SCOTUS case is decided, that could soon end.
“By splitting up neighborhoods into different districts,” Carroll summated, “we, as citizens, have been the victims of cracking. I am glad that, if all goes well with this case in front of the Supreme Court, politicians will no longer be able to pick their voters and it will be the other way around.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Kevin Peter Carroll is a proud product of the public school system and was elected in 2010, at the age of 24, as a Democratic State Committeeman and District Leader for the 64th Assembly District. Kevin Peter Carroll now hopes to bring his experience and dedication to the entire 43rd District as its Council Member.