This is the first week the public will get a chance to weigh in on how Connecticut's political lines should be drawn.
But not many members of the public took lawmakers up on the offer.
“Redistricting might not sound like voting rights. But it is,” Laura Smits, president of the League of Women Voters, said. “After all the way districts are drawn determines who is on the ballot.”
Smits was one of three people to testify at a public hearing last night in Hartford.
“If voters don’t feel their vote will count because of the way their district is drawn or feel that their preferred candidate has little chance of prevailing. They don’t vote. Voter alienation equals voter suppression,” Smits said.
Once every 10 years, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is required to adjust the political lines to reflect the results of the U.S. Census and ensure voters in each district get equal representation.
This afternoon, only four people signed up to testify at a public hearing in Norwich.
“More needs to be done to alert the public to the process,” Kimberly Blake, co-president of the Southeastern League of Women Voters, said.
Rep. Gregg Haddad, D-Mansfield, who co-chairs the committee, said he’s been disappointed by the turnout for a process that determines who represents them in Congress and Hartford.
“I think it’s probably reasonable to expect a lot of people will take advantage of that virtual opportunity to testify before the committee,” Haddad said.
That hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14.
“If you belong to a community and you believe it would be disadvantageous to be divided between different districts this is the opportunity to come and talk to the redistricting committee,” he said.
“The purpose of this is to make sure we get input. Hopefully valuable input from the people of Connecticut,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly said.
Kelly says they were hoping for more public input.
“The goal is to make sure that this process is fair, it’s equal and equitable,” he said.
“We also request that the committee tell people how these maps are created,” Blake said.
Blake said they need more information about the process.
“Have the maps been drawn already? How and when will the public have access to the maps?” Blake asked the committee.
Haddad said they haven't been drawn yet.
“The late delivery of this data in August five months later than usual and amid a pandemic has resulted in additional pressure on your committee as well as the public's access to the process,” Smits said.
The public will have a chance to weigh in at 1 p.m.. Monday at Shelton City Hall or on Tuesday at a 7 p.m. virtual public hearing.
For more information about the hearings and the committee visit their website.