2014 reform gave citizens greater role in shaping government, balance of state for next 10 years
New York State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt on Tuesday urged constituents and all New Yorkers to become involved and make their voices heard in the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts to help ensure fair representation in state and federal government for this region and across the state.
“In 2014, New Yorkers took power away from politicians and put it in their own hands with the promise of the independent redistricting commission. The constitutional amendment to create the commission ensured that no region of the state, special interest or political party gained an unfair advantage in the redistricting process,” Ortt said. “Now, as their work begins, we must ensure that the end result is a balanced and equally represented government for all New Yorkers.”
Once a decade, New York state is required to draw new district lines that reflect population and demographic changes reported in the most recent census. Ortt’s camp said, “Unlike in previous years when politicians drew those lines, more than 2 million New Yorkers voted in a 2014 referendum to give that responsibility to a new ‘independent redistricting commission.’ The new commission has planned virtual hearings this summer and fall to collect input from citizens and devise the best possible redistricting plan.”
As part of its charge to revise district lines for the State Senate, Assembly and Congress, the independent redistricting commission must consider impacts on existing neighborhoods and communities, based on information it gathers from its virtual hearings and written testimony.
Ortt said, “This commission, overwhelmingly approved by voter referendum, created a redistricting process that is more open and transparent. At the end of the day, it only works if everyday New Yorkers stand up and make their voices heard as lines are redrawn. I urge my constituents and all New Yorkers to learn more, and join with friends, neighbors, community groups and others to speak up for the issues that matter most to our communities.”
The independent redistricting commission will accept submissions through its website, www.nyirc.gov. Any group or individual is entitled to submit opinions or testimony.