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Group Seeks Federal Oversight Of Redistricting

BOSTON — As a Beacon Hill committee works to draw up new congressional and legislative districts, one group of advocates is asking for federal oversight of the process.

It’s been more than a month and a half since the Legislature’s Redistricting Committee held its final public hearing, and now members of the Massachusetts Black Empowerment Coalition for Redistricting are expressing concern the final districts may not fairly reflect African-American and minority populations.

Kevin Peterson, coalition co-chair, wants the U.S. Department of Justice to monitor the process (PDF).

“So we’re asking the federal government to be as aggressive as we are in terms of moving the Legislature to do the right thing in terms of ensuring that the minority communities across the state receive fairness during this process,” Peterson said.

The Justice Department says it will carefully consider the request.

Rep. Michael Moran, the House co-chair of the Legislature’s Redistricting Committee, had no comment on the coalition’s request.

The Legislature is expected to release redrawn maps late this month, or in early October.

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