Issues: Elections

A German teenager has punched holes in Albany's pretense that redistricting is hard

This Daily News editorial shows just how easy it can be to draw fair district lines.

With a deadline looming to redraw legislative districts based on the 2010 census, Albany must stop skewing the process for political benefit.

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He's a 19-year-old student who lives in Hamburg, Germany, and who whipped up a credible redistricting plan for the state Senate. All he needed was an enthusiasm for American politics, a head for computers and a connection to the Internet

Read the full article here

October 4, 2011
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GOP may add state Senate seat: Rumor

Yournabe.com wrote about the issue of gerrymandering within the GOP. This only furthers the argument for an independing redistricting process, away from partisan temptations to gain majority through unfair means.

Republicans in the state Senate are reportedly thinking of adding an extra seat in the upper chamber when the redrawing of district lines are conducted next year.

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Sens. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) and Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said they had “heard rumors” that Republicans were in fact looking to add an extra seat.

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September 29, 2011
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Dilan: GOP is dragging its feet on prison gerrymandering

Capital Confidential wrote Senate GOP once again going back on their word regarding LATFOR. GOP must uphold the law and count prisoners by their home address when it comes to redrawing district lines.

Republicans and Democrats, Assemblymembers and Senators: everyone involved with LATFOR, the legislative entity charged with drawing new voting districts, promised it will comply with a 2010 law to count prisoners at their last known address instead of their jail cells.

Case closed, right? Wrong [].

September 29, 2011
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Inside the Albany gerrymandering machine: How N.Y. pols rig the game

The Daily News wrote about how Senate GOP is trying to manipulate the redistricting process for its own political benefit. This is simply politics at its worst and must not be tolerated.

Here is how Republicans in the state Senate talk about redrawing district lines when they think no one is paying attention:

They loosely refer to black and Latino communities on Long Island as "politically undesirable areas."

They strategize about the best way to "strengthen the Long Island delegation" of nine Republicans.

They angle to create low-population or "light" districts upstate to maximize the number of GOP senators.

And their decision about creating a particular district comes down to a judgment about whether it will be "a Republican pickup."

September 27, 2011
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Redistricting Advocate Discussion The Best Way To Redraw State Lines

Senator Gianaris was on NY1 with Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis and executive director of Common Cause New York, Susan Lerner, to discuss redistricting and the need for an independent redistricting commission.

See the full video interview here.

September 22, 2011
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Senator Krueger Encourages You to Get Involved in Redistricting Process

The State’s Task Force charged with developing a redistricting plan for the State’s Congressional, Senate and Assembly district lines will be holding a hearing in Manhattan this Wednesday, the 21st.

Senator Krueger encourages you to attend this meeting and submit a comment. Involvement is needed to best ensure our democratic process is not tainted by politically-driven gerrymandering.

Click HERE for information on this week’s hearing and how to submit testimony.

September 19, 2011
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Avella, Gianaris call for state independent redistricting

Queens Campaigner wrote about the Queens LATFOR meeting and the need for an independent commission to redraw district lines.

If any teacher wanted to instruct students about gerrymandering, a field trip to state Sen. Tony Avella’s (D-Bayside) district might be a good place to start.

The lawmaker represents an unpopulated, rocky stretch of sand that forms a border around — but does not encroach upon — the neighborhood of Bay Terrace. It connects the neighborhood of Whitestone to the rest of his district by winding around the coast of Little Bay near the Throngs Neck Bridge — but only during low tide.?

September 15, 2011
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Marshall Calls For In-Borough Congressional Districts

Queens Gazette wrote about the redistricting hearing that took place in Queens, in which Senator Gianaris participated:

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Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he would veto any plan that does not meet his criteria for fairness. Cuomo proposed the creation of an independent commission, but legislation introduced in the Assembly was not approved in the senate. LATFOR consists of six members, four from the state legislature and two non-legislators.

September 14, 2011
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GIANARIS BILLS STRENGTHEN VOTING PROCESS

Queens Gazette wrote about the bills Senator Gianaris has introduced that enchance the voting process:

Four bills which would result in increased voter participation, a more efficient Board of Elections and make ballot casting more convenient have been introduced by state Senator Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria).

The lawmaker said, “The upcoming special elections remind us of the importance of voting. As we quickly approach 2012, it is vital that we make voting an accessible and convenient process in order to maximize turnout. Every ballot counts and New Yorkers must be able to exercise this valuable right as easily as possible.”

The four bills do the following:

September 14, 2011
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SENATOR GIANARIS SEEKS TO ENHANCE VOTING PROCESS THROUGH SPONSORED LEGISLATION

Reminds New Yorkers of the importance of voting in upcoming September 13 elections.

Queens, NY – Senator Michael Gianaris has introduced four bills in the Senate that would strengthen the voting process and make ballot-casting more convenient. These measures would result in increased voter participation and a more efficient Board of Elections.

Senator Gianaris said, “The upcoming special elections remind us of the importance of voting. As we quickly approach 2012, it is vital that we make voting an accessible and convenient process in order to maximize turnout. Every ballot counts, and New Yorkers must be able to exercise this valuable right as easily as possible.”

The four bills amend New York State law in the following ways:

September 9, 2011
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New districts cannot divide immigrant neighborhoods in Queens, advocates say

The Daily News wrote about how redistricting could affect various immigrant groups in Queens.

State officials must draw new district lines that give growing Queens immigrant groups a stronger voice, advocates demanded this week during a nearly six-hour public hearing.

A joint Senate-Assembly body that oversees redistricting has held public sessions throughout New York since July - and the meeting Wednesday in Queens drew one of the largest crowds in the state.

September 9, 2011
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State Sen. Gianaris criticizes NY's redistricting system

Queens Times Ledger wrote about Senator Gianaris' fight for an independent redistricting process:

The state agency responsible for redrawing legislative district boundaries was set to hold a forum this week to solicit input from the public.

The boundaries for districts of the state Legislature and Congress will be redrawn in 2012 in response to the 2010 U.S. Census. The boundaries of the City Council will be redrawn in 2013.

Since the populations in each district have either risen or fallen, the boundaries need to be adjusted so each legislator represents a similar number of people.

September 8, 2011
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Queens Residents Fear Divided Neighborhoods Through Gerrymandering

NY1 reported on the redistricting public hearing that took place in Queens.

Every 10 years, a task force draws new district lines for state politicians based on census results, and at a Wednesday hearing today in Kew Gardens, Queens, critics alleged that lawmakers do it first and foremost with keeping their seat in mind.

Watch the video here.

September 8, 2011
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September 7, 2011
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Prison count numbers show big shifts in upstate districts

Politics on the Hudson wrote about the data found by the Assembly study on how to count New York State prisoners. Senator Gianaris believes that the use of these numbers to redraw district lines would allow New Yorkers to be represented fairly.

With a court battle still pending, Assembly Democrats have released updated population figures for use during the redistricting process, counting prisoners at their last-known address rather than where they are incarcerated.

September 6, 2011
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Prisoner-adjusted Senate/Assembly districts (UPDATED)

Capitol Confidential wrote about the Assemly's study on counting prisoners. This data will help clear the air around the redistricting process.

I have an article in today’s paper about Assembly Democrats releasing new population figures for state legislative districts, showing which ones increased and decreased when inmates (per a 2010 law) are counted at their last known address — not in their jail cells.

As we all expected, the biggest losers are rural, upstate Republicans. Only one Senate Democrat — Suzi Oppenheimer of Westchester County — had a significant population loss as a result of the recounting. As Ken Lovett noted today, districts in New York City pick up the gains.

September 6, 2011
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Law counting prisoners towards population in home community could redraw districts in Dems favor

LATFOR should use the results of the Assembly's study as they continue the redistricting process. The Daily News wrote about the study on how to count prisoners for purposes of redistricting.

ALBANY - Prisoners in New York can't vote, but they may decide which party controls the state Senate next year.

A new law now requiring prisoners to be counted toward the population of their home community - rather than where they are serving time - could dramatically alter the political landscape of more than a dozen upstate districts.

That's because state officials will redraw legislative and congressional districts based on 2010 Census Bureau population figures in time for the 2012 elections.

September 6, 2011
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Big line shift likely

Prison-based gerrymandering is illegal and must not be used when redrawing district lines. The Times-Union wrote about a study conducted by the State Assembly which counts prisoners at there home address for purposes of redistricting.

ALBANY -- Several Senate districts in upstate New York would lose more than 5,000 constituents, according to newly analyzed data that may guide district lines.

The datasets, released Monday by Assembly Democrats, change Census figures normally used to draw districts for the Senate, Assembly and Congress so as to count prison inmates at their last known address -- not in their cells.

September 6, 2011
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Dems Hopeful Court Ruling Will Favor Them During Redistricting

Senator Gianaris was on YNN’s Capital Tonight with Liz Benjamin to discuss Nassau County’s redistricted lines, which were recently overturned by the Court of Appeals.

September 2, 2011
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