Latinos want end to gerrymandering

­­­A coalition of organizations representing Latino voters urged City Council members yesterday to fix one of the country’s oddest districts during the first public hearing about redistricting.

Every 10 years, Council must re-draw each of the 10 councilmanic districts to reflect the population shifts based on U.S. Census data. Two more public hearings are scheduled before Council is expected to introduce a bill during on Sept. 8.

The 7th District, represented by Maria Quinones-Sanchez, is largely based in North Philadelphia — but it has tiny, barely connected blocks stretching into the Northeast. It has been called one of the most gerrymandered districts in the country.

“For too long, the Latino community has been gerrymandered, diluting its voting strength and in some instances, eroding its viability as a community of interest,” Jose Oyola of the Latino Lines coalition testified.

The group says 60 percent of the Latino population should be in the 7th District, but Quinones-Sanchez said that is an unlikely prospect.

“I think that unfortunately the growth and the decreases make it pretty difficult,” she said.

Council is expected to approve the amended boundaries by the middle of September.

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