ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The US Census Bureau has announced that New York State will lose a seat in the House of Representative bringing the total down from 27 to 26. That comes as New York was just 89 people short in the Census.
“Initially, when we heard we were only losing one seat it was like ‘oh this is great news.’ We thought we were losing two seats, and then to hear that it was just 89 people was so shocking,” said New York League of Women Voters Deputy Director Jennifer Wilson.
Wilson says she believes the pandemic, confusion about the deadline, and the state’s role contributed to the loss in seats.
“There was… the issue with the funding and the commission that New York State had put together — this Complete Count Commission that was so late in kind of getting their act together and getting out their information to the public and putting out this funding that was available for organizations and agencies to use,” she said.
During a briefing Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state is looking at legal options when it comes to the Census.
“Look, you had a lot going on. You had people who were nervous to come forward, right? You have undocumented people who were nervous to come forward. I do believe the federal government had a chilling effect,” he said.
Meanwhile, Republicans like Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt have said the loss of seats is due to the state’s taxing and spending.
As for what happens to the federal funding the state receives that’s tied to the Census and redistricting, Susan Lerner with Common Cause New York says it’s way too early to know.
“The figures that were released yesterday are just the global state figures and the apportionment between the states as to how to divide up the limited number of Congressional seats,” she said.
Lerner says we won’t know until late in the summer where the details of the Census come down, and then it’s possible for the state to start to think about how to redraw the maps.
The state’s “Independent Redistricting Commission” is holding a meeting next Thursday.