ELMIRA (WENY) — Every 10 years, every state is required to draw new district lines and the New York State Independent Redistricting Committee is creating a draft map based on recent census data. These drafts give some insight on what the map could look like by next year.
On Wednesday, the NYSIRC released the first draft of the new district lines. Only this time, the commission couldn’t come to an agreement and released more than one Congressional, Senate and Assembly map draft.
“I am concerned about the fact that we’re going at it with two maps. I would rather we had one and would reflect the consensus that would be necessary for us to put our combined weight behind a single product,” said an NYSIRC member.
Some redistricting committee members attribute their division to the time constraint created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We only received the data on August 12th. We barely had a month with this data. We’ve done our best to represent communities of interest across the state,” said another NYSIRC member.
According to the committee, there is a 10% deviation in agreement on the where the district lines should fall. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano says the final product should be as close to zero as possible.
“It’s an independent redistricting commission, but the appointees are political appointee’s and that’s, I would think, going to play itself out a little bit in this process, but it shouldn’t,” Palmesano said.
Some maps, like the congressional map, indicate that New York will lose one seat and the lines need to compensate for that loss.
“This really plays out specifically when we talk about the congressional district because losing a congressional district in the state of New York is not a good thing and how those lines are drawn from here is what needs to be determined. I think that’s the case that needs to be talked about as far as a Southern Tier based seat, whether that will happen or whether we’ll see more of a finger lakes based seat,” Palmesano said.
The lines determine who will represent people in villages, towns and cities in the Empire State, Palmesano believes the committee will group people together based on their needs.
“We’ll see where they go moving forward as far as drawing these maps. These are the first maps, I don’t expect these to be the final maps.”
These maps don’t reflect what the final redistricting map will look like. The finalized maps will come out in January of 2022.
“10% deviation shouldn’t be acceptable, you have to have it as close to zero as possible. In the congressional districts, they are supposed to be pretty much equal. In the assembly, you can have a plus or minus four or five percent. That’s what we’ve seen in the past,” Palmesano said.
Nothing is set in stone, everything that was released today are drafts and the public is encouraged to comment and suggest changes to the redistricting committee.