My Fellow Citizens,

The House Special Committee on Redistricting has released its congressional and House maps to the public. They do not bode well for any voter.

Granted, the remapping process based upon 2020 census data is not an easy task and certainly not one that speaks to the skill sets of most of our legislators. This committee ignored the petitions passed by over 74 towns, representing 561,000 voters, who asked for a fair, nonpartisan redistricting process.

I am saddened and deeply worried that this committee could not work together and instead issued Republican maps and Democrat maps. The nature of our democracy requires diverse interests to come together and to work through disagreements and arrive at an acceptable compromise. Clearly this did not happen. It speaks to the growing and deepening schism in our country.

Furthermore, there is no explanation of the criteria used to develop these maps. Which of the many factors — deviation, Constitutional requirements, preservation of county lines, preservation of communities of interest — were seen as more important than others?

Many towns and wards, eligible for their own representative based upon population, were not given one. By combining these towns and wards with others, the voices of the voters are diluted. Many “floterial” districts are so huge that one representative will be challenged to connect with those voters and understand their concerns.

Our country’s Constitution is rooted in the people and the people’s rights and responsibilities to participate in our democratic government. These maps put politicians in the drivers’ seats. Rather than the voters choosing their representatives, the representatives will choose the voters based upon the way these maps are drawn.

This is particularly evident in the redrawn congressional district maps, which have not changed substantially in over 140 years and which now clearly are evident of gerrymandering. Seventy-five towns have been moved from one congressional district to the other in order to create two noncompetitive districts — one predominantly Republican and the other predominantly Democratic. This move splits up school districts, water resources, fire and police districts, to mention a few consequences. This means that if you are in a district and you are of the other party, your vote doesn’t count. That can lead to voter apathy within all parties.

Contact your state representatives. Let them know your opinion. You have a right and a responsibility to ensure that our government includes you!

HARRIET DiCICCO

Hancock