NEW YORK (WWTI) — The state is preparing to draw new district lines for both its legislative and congressional sectors.
The commissioners of the NYS Independent Commission have scheduled virtual hearings ahead of its redistricting process. This process takes place once every ten years to account for population changes based on census data.
“Creation of an Independent Redistricting Commission took power away from politicians and put it in the hands of citizens to help ensure that no region of the state, special interest, or political party gains an unfair advantage, and helps create balanced government and representation for the next 10 years,” says Sen. Daphne Jordan in a written statement. “This historic reform, overwhelming approved by voter referendum, creates a redistricting process that is more open and transparent, but it only works if citizens themselves stand up and make their voices heard as the commission begins redrawing district lines.”
Public hearings have been scheduled prior to the release of the U.S. Census Bureau’s official data in August 2021. The schedule for each remaining region is:
- July 26: The Bronx and Manhattan
- July 29: Brooklyn and Staten Island
- August 2: Hudson Valley and the Capital Region
- August 5: The North Country and Mohawk Valley
- August 9: Southern Tier and Central New York
- August 12: Finger Lakes and Western New York
According to the Commission, these hearings will provide an opportunity to gain input on where new legislative and congressional lines should be drawn. This is considered New York’s first redistricting effort.
“We are thrilled to be embarking on New York’s first independent redistricting effort. However, this process will only work if the public makes its voice heard,” Commission Chair David Imamura stated, echoing Rep. Jordan. “We have created a process that we hope maximizes the opportunities for all New Yorkers to describe their communities and articulate how their districts can be improved.”
Any changes made to the current districts will be permanent for ten years until the next redistricting session.
Following all virtual hearings and the release of official census data, the commission will release the first redistricting proposal to the public. This is scheduled to be released on September 15. Additional hearings will then be scheduled as per requirements in the U.S. Constitution.