CR S01909
Background and procedural information

Concurrent resolution S01909 is currently being considered in committee. The bill would amend the state’s constitution to require that a redistricting and reapportionment committee is created before 2010. This committee would be charged with commissioning a computer program to be created that would automatically draw districts for the state.

Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?

No, but the proposal leaves intact a New York Constitutional provision that requires that assembly districts be single-member.

Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?

No. This bill does not contain standards for the parameters given to the computer program. It is not known what methods or considerations would be used in drawing district lines.

Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?

The proposed commission would be comprised of nine members. The first four members are the commissioners of the New York Board of Elections. The Board is appointed by the Governor and must be comprised of two members each of the two major parties. The remaining five members are appointed one-each by the following: the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly, the Minority Leader in the Senate, the Minority Leader in the Assembly, and the Governor.

Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?


Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?

No. The legislation does mandate that there must be at least one public hearing before the commission finalizes its plan, but there is no mechanism by which the public is able to officially submit plans. Once the commission approves the plan, however, the public must approve it during the general election by initiative and referendum.

Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?

No. The proposed legislation does not mention the rate of redistricting, but the New York Constitution states that redistricting should only be done once per decade.

*Note: A proposal may be neutral on whether or not to favor competitive districts for a number of reasons, including that such a requirement may be thought to conflict with other criteria, potentially create other legal issues, or is assumed to flow from the new process itself -- or it might merely not be a priority for the legislative sponsors. FairVote believes that some form of proportional voting is needed to ensure maximum competitiveness for each seat and to ensure meaningful choices for all voters.
November 19th 2005
Redistricting reform: How best to tackle ultra-safe districts
Sacramento Bee

FairVote's Rob Richie argues in commentary running in several newspapers that redistricting reformers must challenge winner-take-all elections.

November 16th 2005
In Canada, regular folks are put to work on reforms
San Jose Mercury News

Steven Hill prescribes a citizens assembly as a solution for achieving consensus on redistricting reform in California.

November 15th 2005
Citizens Must Drive Electoral Reform
Roll Call

Heather Gerken of Harvard Law suggests a citizens assembly as one means to achieve redistricting reform and buy-in from voters.

November 13th 2005
ARNOLD AGONIZES: How the election changed the governor -- and California
San Francisco Chronicle

Article discussing the recent failure of redistricting reform in California and the potential solution in letting the citizens decide through a Citizens Assembly on Election Reform.

November 13th 2005
Arnold had the right idea about redistricting
The Herald News

The Herald News cites Fairvote with commentary about the dangers of Gerrmandering and redistricting obstacles.

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