WXXI AM News

redistricting

New Yorkers are losing a congressional seat. The U.S. Census Bureau announced this week that New York State fell 89 residents short of the threshold necessary for keeping its full allotment of House Representatives. As a result, the map will be redrawn... and the bizarre "earmuff district" could make a comeback. New York districts have long been oddly shaped, designed to favor one political party or another. The mechanisms designed to make the process transparent and equitable don't always do the job.

We discuss how redistricting will impact the state, and what comes next. Our guests:

By the slimmest of margins -- just 89 people -- New York will slip from 27 to 26 congressional districts after next year’s elections, now that the 2020 census figures show the state’s population is not growing as quickly as most other states. 

The Census Bureau said if 89 more residents had been counted, and other states’ population counts had remained the same, New York would not have lost the seat.  

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello wants to create an independent commission charged with drawing new boundary lines for the county's legislative districts. But, as reported by CITY Newspaper's Jeremy Moule, the measure is poised to be rejected by some legislators in both parties. Some say there is no evidence to support a claim that independent restricting has any effect on the impartiality of the process; they want to stick with the current system, where legislators form their own commission and work with the Board of Elections to draw the lines. But advocates for Bello's proposed commission say the independent approach does make the process more transparent and the outcome more fair.

Our guests debate the issue:

County Executive Adam Bello.
Max Schulte / WXXI News

An independent commission would draw new boundary lines for Monroe County’s 29 legislative districts based on 2020 Census data under legislation proposed Monday by County Executive Adam Bello.

But the measure is poised to be rejected by legislators, including those in his own Democratic Party.

“I don’t support it,” said Vince Felder, leader of the Legislature’s Democratic minority.

Republican Majority Leader Steve Brew went a step further.

“I predict that it’s DOA,” Brew said.

On Election Day, voters will get a look at redistricting. So what, exactly, are we voting on? We’ll break it down with our guests:

  • Katherine Smith, vice president of the League of Women Voters
  • Stu Berger, former president of Citizens for a Better NY
  • Neil Jaschik, former president of the Interfaith Alliance of Rochester

Proposed redistricting maps for New York’s congressional delegation have been released by a federal magistrate judge.

Judge U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann’s plan is one of three proposed for reapportioning the districts across the state as determined by the 2010 Census.  The State Assembly and Senate have released different plans and continue negotiations to come up with a compromise. If they are unable to do so, Magistrate Mann’s plan could be instituted, pending public hearings.