Common Cause leads lawsuit against redistricting ballot amendment

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  • Susan Lerner

Common Cause leads law suit against redistricting ballot amendment

Common Cause/NY is leading a lawsuit appealing the state Board of Elections’ approved ballot language on the November ballot to establish a redistricting commission.

The referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot would change the state constitution to allow for an “independent” panel to set legislative lines every 10 years. 

But Common Cause and the New York Public Interest Research Group are opposing the measure, saying the language suggests that the commission will be independent when it’s really being appointed by lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“New Yorkers deserve neutral ballot language which fairly describes the amendment. Unfortunately, the wording of Proposition 1 is intentionally confusing, misleading voters to think that the amendment would create an impartial and independent redistricting process,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause and one of the four petitioners in the lawsuit, in a statement.

The other plaintiffs include Howard Leib, an Ithaca lawyer; Eric Walker, a Buffalo activist; and Eleanor Moretta, of Brooklyn.

The measure would create a new board to draw district lines each decade, made up of eight members appointed by legislative leaders and another two selected by the other appointees.