What is redistricting in NYS? Here’s how you can participate in the process

Politics

A map of NYS with the current redistricting plan from the Independent Redistricting Commission. The map shows the plans for Congressional, Senate and Assembly districts from both the Democrats and Republicans (source: Independent Redistricting Commission)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission is holding several public meetings around the state to discuss the process of redistricting. The commission is seeking public input for the creation of new district lines for Congress, the State Senate and Assembly.

The redistricting process occurs every 10 years and is informed by Census data. In 2014, New York voters passed Proposition 1, a constitutional amendment to implement changes with the intent to achieve a fair and transparent process to redraw the district lines.

The Independent Redistricting Commission was created to keep the process independent from the legislature and act as a bipartisan body. The commission is required to hold public hearings and release relevant data and draft plans for public review and public drafting of proposed district lines.

What criteria is used to redraw district lines?

The following is information from the Independent Redistricting Commission website.

  • Districts should contain nearly an equal number of residents
  • Each district should consist of contiguous territory
  • Each district should be as compact as possible
  • District lines should ensure that racial and minority groups do not have less of an opportunity to participate in politics
  • The commission should consider the maintenance of the cores of existing districts and pre-existing political subdivisions
  • Senate districts should not divide counties or towns
  • Districts should not be drawn to disfavor political candidates or parties

There are two draft maps available for redistricting. The “letters” map was drafted by the Democrats and the “names” map was drafted by the Republicans.

How you can participate

The commission is holding several public meetings throughout the state to receive public input in the process. New Yorkers can submit testimony at a meeting by signing-up online. You can also submit written testimony without attending a meeting.

Meetings are both in-person and online. Anyone can attend a meeting virtually if not submitting testimony.

The upcoming meetings are:

  • November 1 at 4 p.m. at UAlbany, Albany
  • November 8 at 3 p.m. at Pace University, White Plains
  • November 9 at 3 p.m. at BronxWorks Gymnasium, Bronx
  • November 10 at 3 p.m. at Hunter College, New York
  • November 15 at 3 p.m. at Catholic Charities of Staten Island, Staten Island
  • November 16 at 3 p.m. at Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn
  • November 17 at 3 p.m. at York College, Queens
  • November 22 at 4 p.m. at Nassau Community College, Garden City
  • November 23 at 4 p.m. at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook

For more information on redistricting, current district maps and draft plans, you can visit the Independent Redistricting Commission website.

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