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Friday, February 24, 2012

 6:43 PM 

Defense witness says 8th SD changes would delay 2nd Hispanic majority district

While the 8th Senate District is 23 percent non-Hispanic white and a large share of the rest are African-Americans and members of other minority groups, it is unlikely they could thwart the Hispanic community from electing their candidate of choice, said Bernard Grofman, an expert witness for the defense in the redistricting dispute.

The district could have been drawn in such a way the the Hispanics in the 8th District would have a greater majority but Grofman said that would be a bad idea. "It delays the time at which there will be a second Hispanic majority district," he said.

"There is no dispute that Hispanics on their own cannot control with a guarantee the district regardless of how anyone else votes," Grofman said.

But based on previous history "this district has a realistic opportunity to have the candidate of their choice to be elected in 2012," he said.

Plaintiffs' lawyer Peter Earle pointed out that, contrary to Grofman's earlier testimony, the splitting of the Hispanic community into two aldermanic districts did not split the business district as the redistricting plan did with its Senate districts.

Another important factor: 2012 is a presidential election year. That means that the incentive for minorities to turn out is much higher than other years, Grofman said.

-- By Marie Rohde

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