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NY Redistricting Commission To Hold Public Hearings

Map of New York's current Congressional districts
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The commission tasked with drawing new district lines for New York’s Congressional and state legislative seats will hold nine public hearings. Commission members say the public hearings, all to be held over Zoom, will allow communities to have a voice on how they want the new Senate, Assembly and congressional districts to be designed.  

Commission Chair David Imamura says he wants the public to speak up about potential “communities of interest” like church groups, or places of employment, that should not be split up into different legislative or congressional districts. 

“It is absolutely imperative that members of the public make their voices heard,” Imamura said. “We cannot draw lines that respect your communities if we do not know what your communities are.” 

The call for public input is a departure from previous redistricting commissions, which have operated largely in secret and have been accused of gerrymandering districts to benefit the political party in power.  

The commission will be eliminating one congressional seat. New York fell just 89 people short of keeping all of its current districts in the 2020 census count.  

Each of the first eight hearings will focus on one region of the state, beginning on July 20 for Long Island residents and ending with the Buffalo-Rochester region on August 12. One additional hearing for statewide communities of interest will be held at a later date.   

The commission will release preliminary district lines in September, and the legislature will vote on them in early 2022.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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