State Sen. Gianaris criticizes NY's redistricting system

Michael Gianaris

September 08, 2011

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.

But several lawmakers and civic organizations believe the new boundaries for political districts need to be redrawn by an independent party instead of by the state Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research, a team comprised of a combination of politicians and non-politicians.

“We have become a laughing stock as it relates to our districts,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said at a March meeting of the Senate. “There are contests to name the shapes of our districts. That’s how bad it’s gotten.”

In Queens, some districts form mind-boggling boundaries that look like the random inky shapes of a Rorschach test.

Gianaris’ district appears to be a normal box-like shape, except for a peninsula extending to the southeast, which resembles a long appendage designed to nab voters in Ridgewood. The district of state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) looks vaguely like a letter “x” that had been hacked at with an axe.

Read the full article here.