DENVER – A national organization defending the civil rights of Latinos expressed its concern that the new map of city council districts in Denver discriminates against Hispanic voters.
In a letter sent to the mayor and the 13 council members, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said that the new map “offers less opportunity for Latino voters to elect their preferred candidates in City Council elections.”
MALDEF referred specifically to Map “F” Amended, approved by the council on April 9, which reduces the proportion of Hispanic voters from 38 percent to 24 percent in District 9.
Although Map “F” increases the percentage of Hispanic voters in two other districts, “we conclude that these increases will not offset the loss of Latino electoral opportunity in District 9,” MALDEF said.
Local laws require that every 10 years Denver must modify its electoral districts to accommodate the demographic changes that have occurred in the prior decade as measured by the U.S. Census.
In contrast to earlier maps, Map “F” establishes the electoral districts without taking into account the demographic and social connections to the neighboring districts, known as “communities of interest,” focusing instead on streets and highways.
The Colorado Latino Forum and Denver City Councilors Paul Lopez and Judy Montero have already expressed their opposition to the new electoral map. EFE