Issues: Elections

Drawing New District Lines Starts Albany Brawl

An article written by The Queens Gazette highlights some of the key issues concerning the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal.

Assembly Democrats and state senate Republicans issued their new district maps for this year’s congressional and state legislative elections and they’re everything most reformers expected—self-serving exercises tailored to get most incumbents re-elected and keep the Assembly under Democratic control and enhance the Republicans’ chances of capturing the senate again.

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February 13, 2012
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Don’t play Senate’s game

Times Union wrote an editorial that criticizes the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal, saying that New Yorkers should not tolerate such an unfair process and should focus their attention on the Senate Republicans' broken promise to bring about fair and independent redistricting reform.

New Yorkers shouldn’t go along with a rigged redistricting process. They should demand that lawmakers honor their word to make it fair and independent.

 

Arguing about the boundaries of a new state Senate district and the finer points of redistricting theory, like whether the city of Albany has more in common with Troy than Westerlo, is missing the point: We should not be having this discussion at all.

 

February 13, 2012
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Redistricting heads to court

YNN wrote an article about the lawsuit filed by Senate Democrats against the Senate Republicans' proposed district maps, which Senator Gianaris believes are partisan and intolerable.

The contentious redistricting process is moving to the courts. Senate Democrats filed suit Tuesday against legislative boundaries drawn by Senate Republicans they say don't follow the law. In particular, the Democrats take aim a proposed new Senate district carved out of the Albany area.

“Thank God we have a court process that passes judgment on these things because we're confident it's going to be overturned. It's ridiculous,” said State Senator Mike Gianaris.

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February 13, 2012
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Redistricting plan spurs lawsuit

The Ithaca Journal reports that New York Senate Democrats have filed a lawsuit over the Senate Republicans' plan to add a 63rd Senate seat, calling their proposal unconstitutional.

Senate Democrats filed a lawsuit Tuesday over Senate Republicans' decision to add an additional seat in the chamber, claiming the move is unconstitutional.

The 53-page lawsuit claims that the creation of the 63rd Senate District through the Hudson Valley is unconstitutional, saying it was created clearly for political purposes. The district would run from Montgomery County near Albany to Kingston, Ulster County.

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February 13, 2012
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Gianaris: Pairing lines with amendment is ‘surrender’

Capital Confidential wrote an editorial about a potential deal by Senate Republicans that would delay redistricting reform until the next census in 2022 in exchange for allowing the Republicans to carry out their current redistricting proposal and help them gain an extra state Senate seat. Senator Gianaris criticizes the deal for not providing a solution to the current redistricting problems.

In something of a preemptive strike, Sen. Mike Gianaris blasted the idea of redistricting reform based mostly on a constitutional amendment that, while improving on the set of draft maps released last week, would leave redistricting in the hands of legislators until 2022.

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February 13, 2012
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Senate Redistricting plan is divisive

An editorial written by The Queens Courier calls out the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal for compromising the needs of voters and for diminishing New York politics.

Newly-drawn district lines may pit Senate Democrats against one another in a political dogfight.

Under the proposed plan, which was designed by the New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment (LATFOR) — made up largely of Republican senators due to their current control of the chamber — Democratic Senate Campaign Committee Chair Michael Gianaris would face off with Senator Jose Peralta for the right to represent a single, heavily Hispanic district.

February 13, 2012
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Shooting The Messenger

Capital Tonight talks about the Senate Republicans' redistricting proposal and Senator Gianaris' response against their attempt to avoid the current redistricting problem by promising an amendment to the constitution that would only bring reform to the next redistricing process in 10 years.

Sen. Mike Gianaris is pushing back very strongly against the growing belief that a deal is in the works for a constitutional amendment that would reform redistricting in time for the 2022 election cycle, but leave the current partisan process in place for this year’s elections.

February 13, 2012
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In Lawsuit, Senate Dems Decry “Blatantly Unconstitutional” Redistricting

Capital Tonight talks about the lawsuit filed by Senate Democrats against LATFOR's redistricting lines.

Senate Democrats this morning filed a lawsuit against LATFOR’s redistricted lines, arguing that the proposed maps are “blatantly unconstitutional.”

In the suit, filed in state Supreme Court, Democrats take aim at the proposed 63rd Senate seat that’s being placed in the Capital Region area and the mathematical formula Republicans use to justify the extra seat.

And the conference blasts LATFOR writ large for lacking transparency.

 Read the full article here.

February 13, 2012
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New lines, same game

This New York Post editorial reports on the Senate Republicans' redistricting plans, calling them out for blatantly promoting the Republicans' agenda by giving them control over appointment of state Senate seats.

Every state goes through reapportionment following each federal Census, when changes in political district lines must be made to reflect population shifts.

It’s never a pretty process, but rarely does it get more ugly than in New York — suffering a decades-long decline in population and burdened, as it is, with a particularly odious political class.

Each time, legislative bosses draw lines that essentially protect their incumbent members as well as their respective majorities in each house.

February 13, 2012
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Senator Montgomery Announces NYSABPRL's 41st Annual Legislative Conference Workshop & Event Schedule

The 41st Annual Legislative Conference of the NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators will convene on Friday, February 17th and conclude on Sunday, February 19th, 2012. The theme of this year’s conference is “Open Doors to Employment, Opens Doors to Empowerment."

The Conference schedule of educational workshops and weekend-long events is included here in a pdf format that can be downloaded.  More information on the Legislative Conference may be obtained by visiting www.nysabprl.org.

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February 9, 2012
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Sen. Liz Krueger Calls on Senate GOP to Stop Blocking Law on ‘Ghost’ Campaign Funds

State Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) today called on the State Senate’s Republican majority to allow a floor vote on S. 420, a bill that would require the timely disposition of so-called ‘ghost’ campaign funds amassed by former candidates who no longer hold elected office and are not running for reelection. In 2011, the bill was voted down on a party-line vote in the Senate’s Elections Committee, with Republican senators Thomas O'Mara, Greg Ball, Patrick Gallivan, Michael Nozzolio, and Michael Ranzenhofer voting against the measure.

According to a NYPIRG analysis cited today on YNN’s ‘State of Politics’, there are at least 43 ‘ghost committees’ haunting New York politics with a combined total of more than $11 million in funds. These campaign committees belong to former lawmakers, some of whom are no longer even alive.

February 3, 2012
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Statement from Senator Eric Adams on Redistricting

"Imagine going to sleep one night in the bedroom that you have enjoyed for over 20 years – only to wake up the next morning to discover that someone has arbitrarily relocated your bedroom into someone else's home.  This is precisely how I felt when the Republican Party targeted and gerrymandered me for being too outspoken for the communities that I represent. Yes, their response was to gerrymander me out of my own district.

February 3, 2012
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Senator Rivera Testifies at Albany Redistricting Hearing, Continues to Push for an Independent Redistricting Process

Albany, NY – State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D,WF-Bronx) testified today, Monday, January 30, 2012 in front of the Legislative Reapportionment Taskforce (LATFOR) in a redistricting hearing in Albany. Senator Rivera is unable to attend the Bronx Redistricting hearing, which is occurring Tuesday at 3:00pm at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (1040 Grand Concourse) and is open for members of the community to express their opinion. Below is Senator Rivera’s testimony:

February 2, 2012
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Inkblot districts are visible proof of Albany’s gerrymandering

The New York Daily News editorial investigates the oddly shaped districts in the Senate GOP's redistricting proposal and how they represent the unjustified approach Republicans used to draw district lines.

Do not mistake the nearby shapes for Rorschach inkblots.

They are visible proof of how flagrantly state Senate Republicans distorted the process of redrawing election districts.

The weird outlines also document why Gov. Cuomo must veto the maps.

January 30, 2012
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Gov. Cuomo must veto ridiculous new Senate and Assembly districts

An editorial by the New York Daily News talks about the Senate Republican's draft for new Senate and Assembly districts and how they have used redistricting to increase their power while abandoning the interests of voters.

Nothing less than the future of representative democracy in New York is on the line as the Legislature establishes new district lines based on the latest census.

By long-standing practice, lawmakers have drawn maps to protect incumbents while shutting out challengers. Democrats load up Assembly districts with Democrats; Republicans stock Senate districts with Republicans.

January 30, 2012
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A Veto for the Voters

The New York Times wrote an editorial discussing the Senate Republican's proposed legislative district maps, which are so blatantly partisan that Governor Cuomo's office has called them "simply unacceptable."

This week, New York State lawmakers unveiled proposed legislative district maps, based on the 2010 census and required in time for this year’s elections. The maps, as expected, are entirely designed to protect party interests for Republicans who control the State Senate districts and Democrats who run the Assembly.

January 30, 2012
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Two Senators Caught In The Crosshairs Of Redistricting Speak Out

NY1 posted a video of Senator Gianaris' interview on Inside City Hall where he talks about the need to get fair district maps drawn.

Watch the video here.

January 30, 2012
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Sen. Gianaris on Redistricting and the Primary Date

Capital Tonight had an interview with Senator Gianaris discussing the egregiously drawn district maps and the new primary date.

Watch the interview here.

January 30, 2012
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New lines draw veto threat

Times Union wrote an editorial that talks about the release of the new state legislative districts, which have drawn heavy criticism from Senate Democrats and could potentially be vetoed by Governor Cuomo.

New state legislative districts were unveiled Thursday amid a fusillade of criticism — including an unprecedented veto threat by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo's verdict came in a terse statement a few hours after the lines, which must be redrawn every 10 years to conform to the new federal Census, arrived at 2 p.m.

"At first glance, these lines are simply unacceptable and would be vetoed by the governor," said spokesman Josh Vlasto. "We need a better process and product."

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January 30, 2012
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A senator, just for us?

An editorial by Times Union discusses the state Senate Republican's redistricting proposal and calls them out for being glaringly politically self-interested rather than serving the public's interest.

First came the pitch that the 63rd state Senate district the Republicans want to create in order to protect their tiny majority would be upstate. How nice of them, looking after a region that tends to get shortchanged politically and economically.

January 30, 2012
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