Common Cause NY Urges Court to Reject Incumbency Protection as a Factor in Redistricting

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Susan Lerner

March 5, 2012


Common Cause NY Urges Court to Reject Incumbency Protection as a Factor in Redistricting

Issues amicus letter to United States Magistrate Judge and Special Master

Common Cause NY submitted an amicus letter to the Honorable Roanne Mann, United States Magistrate Judge and Special Master, regarding criteria to consider in the redistricting process. Common Cause NY is represented by board member, Sean Coffey, as pro bono counsel in this matter.

The letter outlines the criteria Common Cause NY used to design its own set of reform maps which have been widely hailed as a fair alternative by Newsday, the New York Times, Daily News, Syracuse Post Standard, and others.

Separately, Common Cause NY argues against incumbency as a factor to consider in drawing the maps. Both Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats have urged the court to consider incumbency on the basis that seniority in Congress advantages the voters.

Excerpted: “Common Cause understands that many incumbents may wish to persuade voters of the wisdom of returning them to Congress, where seniority and leadership positions may yield significant benefits for their districts. Such an argument can and often is made in the context of campaigns, where the merits of such an argument can be weighed and either accepted or rejected by the voters at election time. We vigorously dispute the notion that the benefits of incumbency are so self-evident that incumbents should be aided by a thumb on the scale at the time of reapportionment.”