The Boston City Council passed a new map of council districts on Wednesday, with a 10-2 vote meeting the deadline to keep the city's fall elections on schedule. Earlier this month, the council was sent back to the drawing board to create a new redistricting map.
U.S. District Judge Pattie Saris ruled that the council violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which bars laws requiring segregation of the races when compiling the redistricting map.
The council had voted on a new redistricting map last fall, which was approved by a 9-4 council vote. The four councilors who voted against the map were Frank Baker, Erin Murphy, Ed Flynn and Michael Flaherty.
The final map was built from one that Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune had proposed, incorporating input from her colleagues. At times, the process got a little heated, with personal attacks and accusations. Ultimately, the redistricting map was completed and voting on it lacked any real drama.
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Voting in opposition Wednesday were Councilors Kendra Lara and Julia Mejia.
“This was obviously a very contentious process,” Louijeune said Wednesday, according to the Boston Herald. “Whenever legislators are drawing lines there’s a lot at stake for people individually. And you always have to remember to center what’s most important to the voters.”
Mayor Michelle Wu had told the council that it had until Tuesday, May 30 to vote on a new redistricting map to avoid a delay to the Sept. 12 preliminary election. The mayor had proposed her own redistricting map, but that plan was rejected by Louijeune.
Flaherty said that while the map is not perfect, it's a good compromise.
“That tends to show that it’s a good map because not everybody got what they wanted,” he said. “Let’s put this in the rear-view mirror and move forward.”
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