When you go to the voting booth on November 4, one side of your ballot will feature the governor’s race, and your state and local election races. But don’t forget to flip your ballot over this year. Three very important statewide proposals will be listed on the other side.

Proposition 1 would end an ages-old political tradition that’s been manipulated over its lifetime: redistricting. It is the process of re-drawing the lines of Assembly and Senate districts, which happens every 10 years. Each time redistricting comes up, New Yorkers complain that it is only done to preserve incumbents in their districts, or shoehorn partisan votes within a district’s area — gerrymandering, as it is known. There is a reason for all the skepticism: the Senate and Assembly majority leaders draw the lines themselves.

Prop 1 would amend New York’s constitution, to form a commission which would draw the districts. It had been called an “independent commission” when the bill was proposed by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. A state judge later ruled that the commission could not be “independent,” because it is appointed by, and reports to, those same majority leaders.

Nonetheless, some voters groups are all for Prop 1. The League of Women Voters is among them.

“You want the district lines to be fair,” said the League’s legislative director, Barbara Bartoletti. “And there are specific criteria in this constitutional proposal, that will allow for much fairer districts.”

Bartoletti referred to Prop 1 as “not ideal, but the best option we’ve got.”

Proposition 2 would allow the legislature to use electronic bills instead of paper bills. For years, the Senate and Assembly have been reading new laws, printed on paper. By law, each legislator must receive a copy of every new bill, which translates to untold amounts of paper costing millions of dollars each year.

More recently, Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco has been pushing to end the practice. Tedisco said New York is in the midst of a digital age now, and that legislators should read bills on their computers, their tablets, or even their phones.

“We can pull up a bill in a minute, we don’t have to turn paper over on our desk and file through it,” Tedisco said. “We’re going to save $53-million of taxpayers’ money. And we’re going to protect our forest lands.”

Tedisco is the chief sponsor of Prop 2, which has received wide-ranging support.

Proposition 3 is a $2-billion bonding plan, which would let New York meter out those billions to school districts, in order for them to buy new classroom technology and security systems, and build new pre-K classrooms. Governor Cuomo first mentioned the so-called “Smart Schools Bond Act” in the State of the State address, but not much has been heard about it since then.

State school board officials and government watchdogs both said a $2-billion borrowing-and-spending plan is a risky proposition.

“Teachers have said, ‘I’d love to have that kind of equipment, but please know that I was never trained in the use of that equipment, that hardware/software,'” said State School Boards Association president, Timothy Kremer. “The kids know more than the teachers may know.”

Kremer’s organization does not plan to take an official position on Prop 3 before the election, because some school boards are still in desperate need of the funding.

“If you spend on those things,” added Empire Center for Public Policy’s E.J. McMahon Monday, “you have to keep spending more, and raise taxes again year after year after year — to support the tech, to get the curriculum to use it, to train teachers on how to use it.”

Prop 3 is part of a larger statewide bill, but only the “Smart Schools” initiative is on the statewide ballot.

Election Day is November 4. Each statewide proposition will be found on the backside of electronically-submitted ballots.

© 2014 Time Warner Cable News

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