Redistricting now in the hands of the court

BY JOHN BAYLES  |  The special legislative task force in charge of drawing new district lines for New York State now has an added incentive to speed up the process: a ruling by a federal court issued on Monday.

L.A.T.F.O.R. (Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment) has had 11 months to come up with new district lines, a once-a-decade process based on the U.S. Census. This year New York will lose two congressional seats due to slow population growth, and the proposed new state districts have come under scrutiny due to a heavy Democratic majority in the Assembly and a small Republican majority in the Senate.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has threatened to veto the plan put forth last week by the task force.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann was named the special master of a panel comprised of three federal court judges. The panel has ordered both sides to come up with new district lines before Wednesday.

On Tuesday NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “It is an honor to represent my Lower Manhattan community, and I am confident that there will be a redistricting plan in place in the near future so we can move forward.”

There is additional pressure, since another federal judge ruled earlier this month that the primary be moved up from September to June in order to accommodate voters abroad.

“It’s a shame that it had to come down to the wire like this,” said Dr. Costas Panagopoulos, a professor of political science at Fordham University. “They’ve had months to focus on this and have had a clear understanding of the deadlines and the guidelines. It is puzzling and one can only suspect it may have been done so deliberately.”

In order to meet the new, earlier primary date, signatures for petitions will have to be gathered earlier as well.

“They’ll have to gather signatures for the petitions within about the next six weeks,” said Panagopoulos, “and some candidates don’t even know what district they’re in.”

One of those candidates is NYS Senator Daniel Squadron. Under L.A.T.F.O.R.’s proposal, Squadron’s district would be significantly altered and he would lose parts of Tribeca and Battery Park City that he has represented ever since he was elected.

Panagopoulos said the issue is indicative of the larger discussion concerning the redistricting process. He said it is a problem that is less evident in states where redistricting is not carried out by the state legislature and is instead performed by a non-political, non-partisan group.

“This doesn’t happen, or at least happens less often, where redistricting is handled by a non-partisan committee with no vested interest — where the idea is to take it out of the hands of legislators,” said Panagopoulos.

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2 Responses to Redistricting now in the hands of the court

  1. Good post right here. One thing I would really like to say is that often most professional job areas consider the Bachelor Degree like thejust like the entry level requirement for an online diploma. Even though Associate College diplomas are a great way to get started on, completing the Bachelors starts up many entrances to various professions, there are numerous on-line Bachelor Course Programs available by institutions like The University of Phoenix, Intercontinental University Online and Kaplan. Another thing is that many brick and mortar institutions provide Online variants of their degree programs but usually for a extensively higher charge than the institutions that specialize in online higher education degree plans.

  2. I called this afneotron and left a voicemail message. Many thanks for posting these lines. They obviously were drawn by someone who was either having a serious emotional breakdown, was on some very bad drugs, or in the grand tradition of American political life was an expert in gerrymandering.My personal favorite is the district on the bottom right. It is truly a work of art! If there were a Gerrymandering Hall of Fame and, actually, there should be this proposed district would definitely be in it. But it really should be signed, just like a painting. We should know which world-class gerrymanderer (is that a word?) drew up this district.

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