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Massachusetts: judge questions redistricting plan

The Springfield Republican reports: Shifting population trends have complicated a federal voting rights trial, prompting a judge yesterday to question the wisdom of a proposed redistricting plan designed to benefit blacks and Latinos.

U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor yesterday peppered a witness with questions about a proposal to create nine voting districts across the city, wondering whether the plan would truly advance equal voting rights.

"It does collide with logic," Ponsor told witness Doug J. Amy, a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, who did not design the proposal. "I'm, frankly, surprised to see a proposal in which ... five of the nine districts are overwhelmingly white."

Ponsor also wondered whether the so-called ward representation plan comes too late, now that blacks and Latinos represent a collective majority in Springfield. -- Realities muddle voting rights suit

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