Trumbull residents do you understand redistricting and how it will impact your vote? Please attend the Public Hearing at the Town Council meeting on Monday April 2, 2012 at 8 PM at Town Hall to learn more before the Town Council votes that evening on a radical restructuring of our Town government. If you are unable to attend please consider contacting Town Council members through the Council Clerk at email@example.com.
Trumbull’s redistricting should be a very simple process of removing unnecessary split districts and balancing the populations within our districts to maintain the concept of “one person one vote”. Sadly, in the current political climate in Trumbull, even the simplest tasks become ridiculously complex.
On March 20, 2012 in a rushed process, all three Republican members of the Trumbull Redistricting Committee, Mr. Holden (R), Mrs. Monaco (R), and Mr. Scinto (R), voted to recommend to the full Town Council that the number of voting districts in Trumbull be reduced from 7 to 4. This action will create 3 large voting districts each with 5 Town Council members and 1 “Super District” with 6 Town Council members and a population approximately 20% or more larger than the other districts. This plan also reduces the number of polling locations from 7 to 4.
We, the Democratic members of this committee, voted against this plan. Our plan (Minority Plan) keeps the existing seven local districts, which have been in place since 1984. This plan maintains district balance with all districts having nearly equal population and an equal number of representatives while preserving all seven polling locations.
To better understand both plans here is some comparative information:
7 District Plan
Maintains 7 districts within almost the same boundaries
Equal population between all the districts with equal representation, no “Super Districts”
Movement of approximately 4,900 people to new voting districts
Enhances the neighborhood concept
Same number of polling places, less driving time to polls, smaller waiting lines at the polls
Less ballot confusion, 4 Town Council candidates on ballot from each district
Strengthens representative-constituent relationships
Preserves current minority representation, assures 7 Council members from the minority party
Minimizes disruption regarding Council members and their current districts
4 District Plan
Substantially larger districts
Creation of a “Super District”
Unequal district representation
Movement of approximately 18,000 people to new voting districts
Minimizes the neighborhood concept
Fewer polling places that will result in longer driving times and longer waiting lines for voters
More ballot confusion, 8 or 10 Town Council candidates on double sided ballot from each district
Larger districts dilute relationship between Council member and constituent
Diminishes minority representation, assures 4 Council members from the minority party
Displaces current Council members from current districts
The Republicans maintain that their plan will save the taxpayers approximately $8,000 by reducing the polling places from 7 to 4. While we agree that we should save every dollar that we can, we maintain that those dollar savings are not guaranteed and if they did occur, the confusion, and inconvenience to our voters far outweigh a small uncorroborated savings.
So why are the Republicans under their redistricting plan changing where people vote, reducing the number of polling places, increasing the waiting times at the polling places, confusing citizens with a greater number of candidates, and moving over ½ of the population to new voting districts?
It isn’t about saving money. It isn’t about voter convenience. It isn’t about choosing well qualified candidates. It isn’t about empowering the voters. It isn’t about problems at polling places.
It’s really about minority representation. The 4 District plan presents the possibility of limiting representation in the Town Council to 4 minority members. This is nothing more than another attempt to silence dissenting voices. Trumbull, in its Town Charter, recognizes the importance of minority representation. Since the 1980’s the seven district plan has seen our Council go back and forth as to which Party holds sway but, because of the presence of a strong minority, dissenting points of view have not only been heard but have influenced the outcome of decisions to the benefit of the Citizens of Trumbull.
There is no rational reason for a radical restructuring of our Town Government. There is no outcry on the part of the public for fewer polling places with longer voting lines, longer drives to the polls, more campaign literature in their mailboxes or more candidates knocking on their doors. Republican Redistricting Committee Chair Bill Holden‘s plan to limit minority representation was rejected in 1984 when he was a member of that year’s Redistricting Committee, a similar attempt was rejected by the Republicans and Democrats during Charter revision in 2011 and it should be rejected now. It was incorrect for Trumbull then and it is incorrect now.
The Minority Seven District Plan meets all of the requirements of the Town Council, is better for our voters and preserves a system that has served our Citizens very well.
Please attend the Public Hearing at Town Hall on April 2 at 8 PM. If you are unable to attend please consider contacting Town Council members through the Council Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane Aiello: Trumbull Democratic Registrar of Voters
Vicki Tesoro: Member Trumbull Town Council District 3 (D)