Home / The Lit Drop /

As deadline looms, the state of play in redistricting

The redistricting clock is ticking for city councillors, who must pass a map reordering Boston’s political boundaries next week.

Here’s the state of play heading into the weekend, as Hurricane Sandy is eyeing New England and the City Council prepares for a potential Halloween vote on Wednesday, according to City Hall insiders:

One of the precincts in the middle of the back-and-forth is the one City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo lives in: Ward 19 Precinct 7.

One possible map, backed by Councillor Tito Jackson and City Councillors At-Large Ayanna Pressley and Arroyo, would hand Ward 19 Precinct 12 (Jamaica Plain) to District 4 City Councillor Charles Yancey, whose Dorchester and Mattapan district has a high concentration of people of color. (The concentration led Mayor Thomas Menino to veto two previous maps the Council sent to his desk.) The map also hands several precincts in Ward 16 – the St. Mark’s area of Dorchester – to Yancey. St. Mark’s is currently represented by District 3 City Councillor Frank Baker.

Another possible map, backed by District Councillors Baker, Rob Consalvo and Bill Linehan, would do things a little differently. That map would move two Jamaica Plain precincts (Ward 19’s Precincts 7 and 12) into Yancey’s district, while taking just one Ward 16 precinct from Baker.

The City Council’s Census and Redistricting Committee meets in a "working session" on Monday, Oct. 29, at 10:30 a.m. Councillors are under a tight deadline to pass a map, since one must be in place a year before the 2013 election, allowing a potential candidate to move to a redrawn district.

Councillors are also looking to avoid a potential lawsuit. A coalition that includes MassVOTE and the Boston branch of the NAACP has said they’re willing to sue if they’re unhappy with the final map, while a separate coalition, led by local activist Kevin Peterson and aligned with Yancey, also threatened to launch a lawsuit.