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Final proposed redistricting maps released

by jmaloni
Thu, Apr 7th 2011 02:55 pm

The final proposed maps for Niagara County's 15 new County Legislature districts are now available for public review on Niagara County's website, www.niagaracounty.com.

The maps, along with supporting materials, are available by selecting the "Legislature" tab, and then selecting the "Redistricting" link on the left side of the page, or by following this link.

The county's non-partisan citizen-run Commission on Reapportionment approved the 15 legislative districts in their current format Wednesday night, and is forwarding the proposed districts to the Niagara County Legislature.

The Legislature will likely vote on the proposed district map at its April 19 meeting. Any vote will only be either to approve or reject the maps, which cannot be altered by the Legislature, a step county lawmakers took to prevent the influence of politics on its citizen-led redistricting process.

The new legislative maps draw the current 19-member Legislature down to 15 seats, based on a voter-approved downsizing referendum passed in 2009 with the support of 83 percent of county voters.

To comply with the outcome of the public referendum, as well as legal obligations triggered by the 2010 Census, county lawmakers empanelled a citizens commission earlier this year. Commission members included Kevin C. Schuler, who chaired the commission, and Michael R. Cornell, Patricia Dufour, Charles J. Naughton and Shirley G. Urtel.

The commission has been meeting since January, and contracted the services of attorney J.R. Drexelius, who served as a consultant to help draw districts that protected equal representation while complying with various federal laws, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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