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Queens Chronicle

City Council district maps finalized

Asian-American group may fight plan

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Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:58 am, Thu Mar 14, 2013.

The NYC Districting Commission on Tuesday submitted the final district plan to the city clerk for the city’s 51 council districts, effectively finalizing the new lines that will be in effect for the next decade.

The commission submitted the revised plan to the City Council for its review on Feb. 8, but the Council never voted on it and, according to the City Charter, the maps are deemed approved if the Council does not act for three weeks.

The maps are the third draft the commission has drawn. The initial draft was released last September and a second one in November. Those lines were to be the final ones, but controversy over the drawing of the Ridgewood and Bushwick-based 34th District led Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) to call for another round of lines to be drawn.

But the third draft had its opponents as well, most notably the MinKwon Center for Community Action in Flushing, which said the lines “crack” several minority communities, including Asian-American parts of Oakland Gardens and Bayside.

Though a spokesman for the group would not say if they would sue to block it, a lawyer working with the organization said it would “weigh all options” when the draft map was released last month.

But any lawsuit aside, the lines still have one more hurdle to jump over.

The commission also must submit the final plan to the U.S. Department of Justice for review under the Voting Rights Act, though they are mainly concerned with lines for the three protected counties under this Federal law; Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn. Queens County is not a protect county under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

The DOJ will have 60 days to review the lines. A copy of the DOJ submission will also be available for public inspection on the commission’s website in the next few weeks.

The maps would go into effect for the September primary elections.

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