February 8, 2011 | Hispanically Speaking News | Original Article

Asst Attorney Gen. Thomas Perez Speaking to Latino Elected Officials on Redistricting

The following are comments made today by Assistant Attorney General Tomas Perez at a luncheon hosted by the National Association of Latino Elected Official on redistricting.  Mr. Perez’ comments are a good gauge as to where the Obama administration stands on legally protecting redistricting efforts made in light of the most recent Census.

“Last week, the Census Bureau began releasing the data to be used in redistricting, which means the official beginning of the redistricting cycle has arrived.  The results of the 2010 Census show an increase of more than 27 million people a large proportion of whom are Latino.”

“The Civil Rights Division’s interest is simple:  that the redistricting does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or membership in a protected language minority group.  In short, substantially unequal districts or vote dilution cannot be justified.”

“We review redistricting plans and other voting changes for a determination of whether they have the purpose or will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color or language minority status.”

“Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act provides that, in areas of our country determined by the Census Bureau to have significant numbers or percentages of language minority voters, a person who is a member of a language minority group can receive election language assistance in the language of their choice .”

“I believe that together we can ensure that the coming round of redistricting will produce plans that provide the full measure of fairness to racial and language minorities required by the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.”