NEW YORK – The Latino Voting Rights Committee of Metro New York released its Latino Legislative Redistricting Plan for the Assembly and State Senate for the City of New York Feb. 12. The plan calls for the expansion of Latino districts as a result of the dramatic growth in the city’s Latino population to over 2.1 million, now accounting for more than 27 percent of the total population.

The Latino Redistricting Plan, presented at a news conference at the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) in Manhattan, proposed the increase of majority Latino Assembly Districts from 11 to 14, and the increase in majority Latino State Senate Districts from four to six. The group indicated that it would be submitting its plan to the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment, which oversees the redistricting process for the State Legislature.

“This Latino Redistricting Plan reflects the growth of the city’s Latino population,” stated Mayra Cappas, co-chair of the group, “and tries to make sure that Latino voters can make effective choices in their representatives, whether they vote for Latinos or not.”

According to Arturo Sanchez, a member of the group from Queens, the plan “is historic as the product of a truly bottom-up process of community consultation and empowerment. In this sense it contrasts with the overly secretive process being controlled by our state legislative leaders.”

“Our goal is to democratize the redistricting process,” explained Lucía Gómez, who coordinates the PRLDEF Latino Voting Rights Project. “In most places we are working, this has definitely been an uphill process, as legislatures only reluctantly allow the public to participate in this important process.”