Congressional, state and local districts should be drawn every 10 years to reflect population changes. When legislators draw district lines to prioritize incumbent and partisan interests, voters lose. Election outcomes are rigged and voters have little voice in choosing our representatives. New York State has many egregious examples of distorted district maps drawn by legislators to ensure that they remain in office.
Common Cause/NY is working to improve the redistricting process in New York through public dialogue and by drawing the only set of fair, non-partisan redistricting maps for all of New York State. We are committed to showing the public that there are valid alternative to politically gerrymandered maps. Our maps provide an example of what districts could look like if they were designed to eliminate partisan and incumbent bias.
Mapping Democracy Project
Common Cause/NY’s Mapping Democracy Project has drawn the only statewide reform maps for both houses of the state legislature and Congress. Working with a Citizens' Advisory Committee including academics, headed by CC/NY board member Sean Coffey, we started with a blank state without reference to existing district lines or incumbents, and, relying on demographic data, applied reform criteria to draw maps that provide an example of what can and should be done to achieve fair, non-politicized districts.
NY's New Congressional Districts
The Court’s independent, transparent, non-partisan process produces a map that closely resembles the Common Cause Reform Plan and is a win for the public interest.
Against all odds, New Yorkers are set to benefit from an independent, non-partisan Congressional redistricting plan. In an outcome that no one would have predicted at this time last year, New York State is has enacted a new set of Congressional districts drawn not by the Legislature or a commission created by it, but by the Eastern District federal court. Click here to learn more and compare the maps.
Common Cause/NY Reform Maps
Common Cause/NY created a set of statewide reform redistricting maps, which have been widely hailed as a fair and viable alternative to LATFOR 's official proposals, including:
The New York Times (Straight forward and Fair),
Newsday (Gold Standard),
NY Daily News (Damn Good),
Syracuse Post Standard (Done a public service),
Times Union (Best Possible Outcome)
Check out the maps below
Common Cause Reform Map for Congress
District by District Explanation of Common Cause Reform Map for Congress
Common Cause Reform Map for State Senate
District by District Explanation of Common Cause Reform Map for State Senate (62 districts)
District by District Explanation of Common Cause Reform Map for State Senate (63 districts)
Common Cause Reform Map for State Assembly
Region by Region Explanation of Common Cause Reform Map for State Assembly
Comparison of NYS Redistricting Maps
click here for slideshows– including:
- Comparison of Special Master Congressional Plan and the Common Cause Reform Plan
- Comparison of NY Congressional Lines(Current, Senate Republican, Assembly Democrats, and CCNY)
- Examples of Partisan Gerrymandering in LATFOR Plans
- Comparison of NY State Senate Lines (Current, Latfor, CCNY)
- Comparison of NY State Assembly (Current, Latfor, CCNY)
U Map NY
In partnership with Newsday, we launched the groundbreaking UMapNY. UMapNY is a completely interactive website that allows anyone in the state to voice their opinion about what their district should look like. Click here to learn more.
New York City Redistricting
In Feburary, the NYC Districting Commission’s approved a revised plan for New York City Council Districts. Compared to the draft plan, numerous areas of the plan have been improved in response to community input (more details here).
Despite certain improvements, the overall process in New York City has been disappointing. Most problematically, the Districting Commission has publicly acknowledged taking into account the needs of incumbent lawmakers, and prioritizing political concerns over those of the public. This runs contrary to the entire point of having a seemingly independent body draw councilmanic lines.
In November, the Districting Commission released its revised proposed map for the 2013 redistricting of the New York City Council. While much of the plan is acceptable based on objective City Charter criteria and demographics, there are numerous parts that raise substantial questions about the manipulation of the process for political gain (read more here, here & here). In response to the outcry, the NYC Districting Commission withdrew its redistricting plan in favor of holding another set of public hearings in January (read our press release here).
Common Cause/NY coordinated a program of public education and engagement regarding New York City redistricting. The program provided diverse communities throughout the five boroughs with the tools and knowledge necessary to participate in local redistricting for New York City. The education program was coordinated to coincide with the public hearings during the City redistricting process.
Historically, New York City’s redistricting process is more open and responsive to the community than New York State’s. New York City Council districts will be redrawn by a fifteen member Districting Commission established under provisions of the City Charter; five of these members, one from each borough, will be appointed by the Council's majority party; three members, each from a different borough, will be appointed by the Council's minority party; and seven will be designated by the Mayor. New district lines will be in place in time for the 2013 City Council elections.
Redistricting in Nassau County
Common Cause/NY, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, La Fuente Long Island Civic Participation Project and the League of Women Voters of Nassau County launched a new initiative to refocus the Nassau County redistricting process to include transparency and community engagement, and help defuse partisan warfare. The Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition is a non-partisan civic engagement coalition, which supports inclusive, balanced and fair Nassau County Legislative Districting, the drawing of legislative lines to adjust for changes in population. Click here to learn more.
In early March, after a final seven hours of public testimony and a twelve hour hearing earlier, the Republican-controlled legislature passed their gerrymandered redistricting map along party lines. The Nassau County United Redistricting Coalition provided testimony and joined with civic and civil rights leaders from all corners of the county to denounce the proposed redistricting map. Despite cosmetic changes, after enormous public pressure in a public hearing that lasted until 1 AM, the map approved draws from the same baseline of partisan gerrymandering and dilution of the voting rights of communities of color. Read the full statement here.