Citizens Union Pushes for Redistricting Reform
November 21st, 2011
Citizens Union has issued a report detailing how it sees the current redistricting process as having undermined democracy in New York state. (Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union’s sister organization, Citizens Unions Foundation.) The report offers evidence that the current redistricting system has provided a safety net for incumbents — 96 percent of incumbents have been re-elected since 2002. The report’s executive summary calls for legislators to return to Albany for a special session to enact independent redistricting, so lines would be redrawn district lines without partisan influence.
“The state legislature needs to return to Albany in a special session to pass legislation which ends the political manipulation for partisan advantage of the drawing of district lines and establishes an independent redistricting commission to draw lines before the 2012 elections. The politically balanced and impartial commission would use fair and sensible criteria and be guided by clear guidelines in drawing the maps to ensure the process serves all New Yorkers and their communities rather than preserves the Albany status quo,” reads the executive summary.
But not all good government groups think there is time for legislative action. Common Cause split from Citizens Union and the ReShape NY campaign to propose a compromise. Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo actually wants to make good on a his threat to veto any lines drawn by the legislature. It seems negotiations have been taking place between Cuomo’s office, the legislature and good government groups that would avoid a veto all together. It is unclear what kind of compromises that sort of deal would hinge on.By David King on November 21, 2011, 3:17 pm
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