ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – New York’s recently appointed Independent Redistricting Commission will begin its once-in-a-decade task of redrawing the state’s Congressional Districts.

It comes as New York’s population falls, according to the 2020 Census results, forcing the state to lose a congressional seat by the narrow margin of 89 people. The seat will be officially gone by the 2022 election.

“We know this is critical this year particularly for New York State and our region in particular too given the fact that due to the census it’s been announced that New York State will lose one seat,” Assemblyman Philip Palmesano told 18 News.

After being given the green light by voters in 2014, for the first time in the state’s history, congressional lines will be drawn by an independent commission rather than by the Legislature itself.

As of Tuesday, New Yorkers can testify on the redistricting process through public hearings before official Census data comes out.

“This is the opportunity for people to essentially fill in those gaps and make sure the redistricting commission knows what the communities of interest are in their communities,” League of Women’s Voters Jennifer Wilson said. “We don’t want those communities to be split in a way that disadvantages them when it comes to elected representation.”

Participants will have up to three minutes of speaking time and are encouraged to submit written testimony. This includes, but is not limited to: how do you as a resident feel about the current lines outlining your district? What would you like the IRC to know about your community of interest? All hearings will be recorded for public record, as well as live-streamed.

To submit your questions for the hearing, visit the New York State Independent Redistricting Commission website.