Every ten years, New York redraws its federal, state, and local legislative district maps. This process is meant to ensure that as populations grow and change, every New York voter can have equal representation and equal voice in government.
We’re fighting for fair, transparent, and equitable redistricting at every level — advocating for legislation like the Freedom to Vote Act to help end partisan gerrymandering, bringing New York residents to testify at public hearings, and telling our mapmakers the story of communities across New York.
Redistricting in New York
In New York, redistricting is controlled by a politically appointed commission, and the state legislature can approve or reject maps. If the State Legislature rejects the Commission’s maps, they draw and approve their own maps.
When partisan politicians control the mapmaking process, we’re especially vulnerable to gerrymandering — which is why it’s so important we push our lawmakers to be transparent and consider public testimony every step of the way.
Districts must comply with the provisions of the US Constitution and Voting Rights Act and keep districts reasonably equal in population. In addition, mapmakers must prioritize:
- Keeping communities of interest and political subdivisions whole
- Compactness and contiguity
- Maximizing the number of politically competitive districts
Districts may not be drawn:
- To protect one or more incumbents, declared candidates, or political party
- With intent or effect of denial/abridgement of voting rights or vote dilution because of race or membership in language minority group
Why Redistricting Matters for New York
When done fairly, redistricting is a chance for political power to be equitably distributed across different communities, making sure everyone has a seat at the table.
Unfortunately, redistricting has historically been conducted behind closed doors with little to no public input, meaning they don’t have an accurate picture of what our communities look like.
Even worse, when politicians have the power to draw electoral maps, they manipulate district lines to divide or pack together certain populations, keeping themselves and their party in power. It’s called gerrymandering – and it’s a major threat to our democracy.
Key Dates For New York 2021 Redistricting
On September 15th, the New York Redistricting Commission released its first set of maps to the public. Now, the Commission is holding hearings across New York to gather public feedback to revise the maps, before sending the first set of maps to the Legislature in January 2022. The Legislature will in turn approve or reject the proposed maps.
If rejected, the Commission will propose a second set of maps. If both proposals are rejected, the Legislature will take over mapmaking and a finalized version will go to the Governor’s desk, who can veto or approve the maps.
Public hearings have officially begun in New York! Join us at an upcoming hearing in your area:
- Buffalo: Wednesday, October 20 at 4 PM – Buffalo State College Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14222)
- Rochester: Thursday, October 21 at 4 PM – Rochester EOC (SUNY UCAWD) Multi-Purpose Room (161 Chestnut Street, Rochester, NY 14604)
- Southern Tier: Monday, October 25 at 4 PM – Binghamton University (SUNY) Innovative Technologies COmplex (85 Murray Hill Road, Vestal, NY 13850)
- Syracuse: Tuesday, October 26 at 4 PM – Syracuse University College of Law Melanie Gray Ceremonial Courtroom (Dineen Hall 950 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210)
- North Country: Wednesday, October 27 at 4 PM – SUNY Plattsburgh E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium (Hawkins Hall 101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901)
- Albany: Monday, November 1 at 4 PM – University at Albany (SUNY) Page Hall (Downtown Campus 135 Western Avenue, Albany, NY 12203)
- White Plains: Monday, November 8 at 3 PM – Haub School of Law at Pace University Gerber Glass Moot Courtroom (78 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603)
- Bronx County: Tuesday, November 9 at 3 PM – BronxWorks Gymnasium (1130 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10456)
- New York County: Wednesday, November 10 at 3 PM – Hunter College (CUNY) Cafeteria (695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065)
- Richmond County: Monday, November 15 at 3 PM – Catholic Charities of Staten Island CYO Center at Mount Loretto (6541 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10309)
- Kings County: Tuesday, November 16 at 3 PM – Medgar Evers College (CUNY) Founders Auditorium (1650 Bedford Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11225)
- Queens County: Wednesday, November 17 at 3 PM – York College (CUNY) Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center (94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11451)
- Nassau County: Monday, November 22 at 4 PM – Nassau Community College (SUNY) College Center Building – Multi-Purpose Room (1 Education Drive, Garden City, NY 11530)
- Suffolk County: Tuesday, November 23 at 4 PM – Stony Brook University (SUNY) Charles B. Wang Center (100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook, NY 11794)
Find more information on these meetings and how to join at the official Redistricting Commission website: https://nyirc.gov/meetings
New York Redistricting Resources
Use these resources to learn more about how you can get involved in fighting for fair districts and stopping gerrymandering in New York.