ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission will soon be putting out the first drafts of its maps to redraw the State’s district lines. The process happens every ten years following the Census.

The Commission has wrapped up its first round of public hearings to take suggestions on new maps for voting districts. The first drafts are expected to be released on September 15.

“Obviously, we didn’t engage in discussions, dialogues, there was no debate, but it was listening, which is very important,” said NYSIRC Vice-Chair Jack Martins during an IRC meeting Thursday.  

Chair David Imamura says almost 1,600 people signed up on the Commission’s website, there were about 430 written submissions, and almost 300 people spoke at the hearings. While he says those hearings weren’t statutorily required, Jennifer Wilson with the League of Women Voters says she’s disappointed by what she calls a lack of transparency.

Wilson says, “There’s been no public engagement on the actual mapping negotiations.” She added, “Any negotiations on the maps that have been done so far have been done behind closed doors. And in addition to that, the testimonies and the transcripts of the oral testimonies that were submitted by the public have yet to be released.”

She’s also criticized the lack of language accessibility for the materials. 

Once the map drafts are made public next week, the Commission is required to hold its second round of public hearings. “There will be time for people to comment on the draft maps, but typically when drafts come out, they don’t change very much,” Wilson said.

The Commission is supposed to approve a plan on or before January 1 to submit to the legislature.