Opinion by: James Simon

For three straight U.S. Census cycles, Stratford Republicans have used gerrymandering to redraw political boundaries and help their party in town elections. 

The result: Democrats almost always carry the town in elections for president, and governor, and U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House. But when it comes to the Town Council with its rigged district lines, the GOP has had a majority on the Town Council for 22 of the past 24 years. 

As the GOP-led Town Council finishes its redistricting work based on the 2020 census, 2023 is proving to be no exception. It’s just more of the same for Stratford voters. 

Twenty years ago, the GOP used Stratford’s redistricting changes based on the 2000 census to split the Oronoque Village seniors housing complex in half, pitting North Trail vs. South Trail, to the benefit of Republicans. The Oronoque action attracted national attention when The New York Times described the gerrymandering as “silly,” “a sham,” and “absurd.” 

Ten years ago, based on the 2010 census, the gerrymandering continued. Stratford’s Districts 2 and 3 were switched, concentrating voters of color in two districts and unfairly helping Republicans in multi-district land use elections. 

For this year’s redistricting, based on the 2020 census, only a Republican plan was allowed for consideration. The Redistricting Commission’s final report sent to the Council was not even the same as what was voted on at the final meeting. Some 50 pages of additional material that was never approved by the commission – or even presented or considered – was improperly presented to the Council as part of the Redistricting Commission report.  

The Republican plan also did not follow the town charter which specifies that changes can only be made – quote— “when necessary.”   

Instead, the GOP plan goes out of its way to punish Democratic Council member Kaitlyn Shake by moving her out of the second district where she won two terms and into District 7 that is represented by a Republican incumbent.  

There has been a lot of publicity across the country about gerrymandering to help one party at the expense of the other. These stories undercut public confidence in the electoral system. Stratford  Democrats have asked the Town Council to return the plan to the Redistricting Commission, so that both parties have a chance to submit their separate proposals and a proper vote can take place.  

The final outcome may not be any different, but at least the public could be more confident that the process was followed.   And it would be less likely that Stratford would get the unwanted title as The Gerrymandering Capital of Connecticut. 

James Simon is the elected Democratic Registrar of Voters in Stratford

The views expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the views of Connecticut Inside Investigator.

Have an opinion to share? Email your opinion submission to opeds@insideinvestigator.org

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

CII welcomes submissions of opinion articles on any topic relevant to the people of Connecticut. Submissions must be exclusive to us and should be between 550-800 words. You can read more about our guidelines...

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Connecticut is a VERY corrupt state, sadly. The corruption in Connecticut runs wide, and it runs deep – from local police departments, to building departments, to elected officials, to zoning boards, and now it would appear – corruption in the very democratic process of elections. We live in Stratford, and can attest they run Town Hall including all the functions of government, like a private club, like most of the nearby towns of Fairfield County. That is why they have dubbed Connecticut as “Corrupt-i-cut”. It’s not a joke. Connecticut is a VERY corrupt state, including many if not most of its municipalities.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *