They're in the Back Room
New York Times editorialized the need for the Governor to veto any legislative district lines not drawn in a bipartisan manner. We need to create an independent redistricting commission now.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has taken a strong stand against gerrymandering. He put forward a good bill that would create an independent commission to draw political districts and promised to veto any new maps that are “partisan.” Albany’s pols are not giving up.
Mr. Cuomo’s bill went nowhere, despite the fact that a hefty majority of legislators signed a pledge in 2010 to support such a commission. The old-style task force is now drawing up maps, and the business-as-usual crowd is trying to figure out how to get around the veto threat.
The word on the street is that they may stall the release of the new maps for the 2012 election (and the decade to follow) until early next year. Then lawmakers can say it’s too late to use anything else.
Mr. Cuomo needs to fight back now. He should press the Legislature to create the real independent commission that was promised to the voters. If that fails — things don’t look promising — he should name his own commission to draw alternative maps, using the best redistricting practices outlined in his bill. Those include such basics as ensuring that each district has about the same number of voters, makes geographical sense and isn’t drawn to guarantee the election of one party or candidate.
The governor’s maps could provide guidance — or shaming — for the Legislature’s task force. Or, if Mr. Cuomo vetoes the Legislature’s package, and it goes to the courts, the courts could use them to draw up final maps.
Read the full article here.