ACLU sues Cranston alleging prison gerrymandering
By: Dee DeQuattro
Residents of Cranston have joined the ACLU in a lawsuit against the city of Cranston saying that the 2012 redistricting plan violates the “one person, one vote” principle by counting people incarcerated at the ACI as residents of the city.
The lawsuit says that because the incarcerated people are counted as residents in Ward 6, actual voters in the ward have 3 times more influence then voters in other wards. Incarcerated individuals are not permitted to vote in Rhode Island.
The lawsuit claims that while other districts have roughly 13,300 constituents, Ward 6 only has 10,209 actual voters and they now carry the same influence as the larger wards.
“Using the people incarcerated at the ACI to pad the resident population of Ward 6 is not only irrational, but also unconstitutional. Over 200 municipalities and counties across the country actively avoid this 'prison gerrymandering' when redistricting,” said Aleks Kajstura, Legal Director at the Prison Policy Initiative. “There is no reason for Cranston to give extra representation to a select group of residents just because they happen to live near a prison.”
For the full complaint: http://riaclu.org/images/uploads/RI_PBG_Cranston_Complaint.pdf