Albany, NY — Amidst an overly partisan and thus far fruitless redistricting process, the Empire Center for Public Policy has created its own set of maps for New York’s congressional, senate and assembly districts.
New York’s constitutionally-mandated Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) is running out of time to produce one fair, non-partisan set of maps as tasked by the voters of New York. To spur action, and ultimately try to avoid gerrymandered political maps drawn by the Legislature, the Empire Center produced maps that could easily be used to achieve that mandate.
“Redistricting is an inherently political process—but that does not mean it must be done to benefit self-interested politicians,” said Tim Hoefer, President and CEO of the Empire Center. “The political well-being of New Yorkers has been sacrificed for career politicians for too long. The Empire Center maps ensure that citizens are fairly represented, and that’s it.”
The maps were created using the following criteria:
- Comply with all of the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
- Comply with all constitutional and legal requirements;
- Preserve the borders of counties, town, cities and villages as much as practicable; and
- Create compact districts, respectful of local and regional considerations, as much as practicable.
To ensure these maps met these standards, the Empire Center enlisted the help of two independent, respected constitutional scholars to prepare an analysis of the maps. Peter Galie is Professor Emeritus, Canisius College in Buffalo and Christopher Bopst is a Partner at Wilder & Linneball, LLP in Buffalo. They are co-authors or co-editors together on three books and numerous scholarly articles on the New York Constitution.
“The Empire Center plan offers an independent approach to political redistricting. It balances population equality with political neutrality and the preservation of counties, municipalities, and existing communities of interest,” wrote Bopst and Galie, in their analysis of the plan. “On the basis of our review, we believe it is in substantial compliance with the criteria mandated by the New York State Constitution and federal law.”
The Empire Center maps for Congressional, Assembly and Senate districts, Bopst and Galie’s analysis, and other supporting material can be viewed at www.RedistrictNY.com.