Galef, Bonacic Renew Their Call for an Independent Redistricting Commission through First Passage of a Constitutional Amendment

June 2, 2010

Assemblywoman Galef and Senator John Bonacic are sponsoring legislation (A.6878S.2892) that will establish a non-partisan Apportionment Commission in New York State. The bill proposes to amend article three of the New York State Constitution, which will ensure that district lines for state and federal legislators are drawn fairly. These legislators are supporting first passage of this legislation in 2010 and again in 2011 so that the public will have the opportunity to vote on it in November of 2011.

This legislation would eliminate political motivations from the redistricting process; it would require that population is the only factor considered when drawing legislative district lines. The bill creates a five-member apportionment committee, four members of whom shall be appointed by the majority and minority officers of the legislature and the fifth to be selected as chairmen by these four appointees.

Creating an independent commission will avoid the problem of districts being drawn for the purpose of diluting voter strength and increasing political gain. The apportionment commission created by this bill will divide the state into districts with an equal number of inhabitants. It combats gerrymandering by requiring compactness and encouraging sensibility.

“This is in the best interest of not only my constituents, but all New Yorkers”

“Since the next redistricting will take place in 2012, this issue needs to be addressed now in order to be considered twice by the legislature and voted on by the public before then. The establishment of a non-partisan apportionment commission is in the best interest of the residents of New York State. It’s a positive step toward equity and transparency in the redistricting process and will take the politics out of establishing district lines” said Galef.

“Changing the way Legislative Districts are drawn is real reform. This legislation should be taken up this year, and then again the next year so it can be considered by the voters prior to the next re-districting. You cannot talk about reforming Albany without changing the way legislative districts are drawn. This legislation empowers voters and brings a fair system to re-districting. There is no reason it should not be acted on,” said Bonacic.

Redistricting of state and federal lines will take place in 2012 after the U.S. Census is completed this year.