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Friday, February 24, 2012

 3:08 PM 

Defense witness says Hispanic candidate 'can and will' win 8th AD

Bernard Grofman, an expert witness for the defense with international credentials, testified that a Hispanic candidate in the newly reconfigured 8th Assembly District "can and will win" the election.

The seat is currently held by Jocasta Zamarripa, a Democrat.

"The Democratic primary in district eight is tantamount to winning the election," Grofman said.

Grofman's testimony was the last of the four expert witnesses who have offered conflicting testimony on the impact of the new maps on the ability of Hispanics on Milwaukee's south side to elect the candidate of their choice because the redrawn maps divided the community into two district.

Zamaripa's incumbency is a major asset, Grofman said, as it would be for any candidate, regardless of race.

Some of the plaintiffs, particularly the civil rights group Voces de la Frontera, are challenging the GOP-drafted redistricting plan based on their assumption that dividing the community would dilute voting rights of the minority community, a violation of federal law.

Grofman has written extensively on election law and redistricting across the U.S. and in a dozen countries. His work has been cited in U.S. Supreme Court redistricting cases, and he said he was a frequent consultant to the U.S. Justice Department over the past two decades. He said he has worked for more often for Republicans than Dems, but considers himself non-partisan as do others, he said.

-- By Marie Rohde

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