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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ward 7 Coalition: Equity Denied in Redistricting Process

On Nov. 18, the DC Council Redistricting Subcommittee released its proposed map redrawing the City’s Ward boundaries.

In response, Ward 7 elected-officials, community leaders, and stakeholders created the Ward 7 Redistricting Equity Coalition (W7REC) to initiate legal review, execute a public awareness campaign and to urge the DC Council to consider population, political and economic equity as a top priority when voting December 7, 2021.

Every ten years, DC creates new Wards of roughly equal size based on the decennial Census in order to create fair and equitable representation. Yet, despite this goal, the process yielded the same result for Ward 7 – the least populated Ward in the District, with the weakest voting power. As compared to the highest population of 88,000 in Ward 2, Ward 7 would host 81,555 residents, only 114 residents above the legal minimum threshold.

“While I respect the effort of the Subcommittee, the resulting final redistricting map is unacceptable to the Ward 7 community. Currently, the Subcommittee’s proposal leaves Ward 7 unnecessarily and ill-advisedly undersized with the smallest population,” Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent C. Gray (D) said in a Nov. 30 press release.

The new boundaries significantly limit the ability to obtain adequate constituent services, amenities, economic development, strong political representation, and voting power within the Ward. Further, 21,000 people below the voting age will live in Ward 7, further disenfranchising the Ward politically.

“Expansion West of the River is necessary and has been set on a path since the 2000 Census. The time is here and now to see that growth,” Commissioner Tamara Blair (7D01), of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7D. W7REC supports the sentiment and urges the Council to fulfill its commitment to equity full-stop.

For more information on DC’s 2021 Redistricting process, maps, and voting timeline, visit www.elissasilverman.com/redistricting

The Ward 7 Equity Coalition is a collective of elected officials, community leaders and stakeholders executing a strategy to ensure equity for Ward 7 is achieved in the 2021 redistricting process.

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